Afghan president fires foreign ministry spokesman over comments on Pakistan’s talks with Taliban: media

October 06, 2019

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has fired foreign ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi for his welcome remarks over Pakistan’s talks with the Taliban, Afghan media reported on Sunday, quoting sources.

A 12-member Taliban delegation led by its deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other officials in Islamabad this week, with both sides agreeing on the need to resume the Afghan peace process.

President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqi criticised the development and said that the meeting couldn’t help the peace process.

“Hosting a group which continues to commit violence goes against all the principles of relations between countries,” Sediqi was quoted as saying.

Ahmadi, however, welcomed the meeting. “We all witness the increasing regional and global efforts for resumption of Afghanistan’s peace process,” Ahmadi said on Twitter.

“We welcome the efforts of all the countries in the region and the world aimed at peace in Afghanistan and particularly appreciate these countries’ efforts in terms of facilitating direct talks between the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Discussions continue on the mechanism of initiating the peace talks.”

Later, Sediqi said that policies on peace are announced by the Afghan Presidential Palace, adding Ahmadi’s comments on the meeting were his personal views.

Ahmadi, however, said the foreign ministry was the sole implementer of the country’s foreign policy and reflects on the official position of the Afghan government. He reiterated that the ministry continues to support the peace process and efforts to facilitate peace talks.

Subsequently, following the Twitter duel, reports emerged on Sunday that Ahmadi had been relieved of his post.

According to 1TV, Mirwais Nab has been appointed by the Afghan president as acting spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry and as its deputy for economic cooperation.

Ahmadi has also been referred for prosecution for the comments, 1TV quoted a source as saying.

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