Afghanistan’s president is urging the nation to determine its fate without foreign interference as the United States and the Taliban appear to near a peace deal without the Afghan government at the table.
President Ashraf Ghani spoke during the Muslim holiday Eid-al-Adha and as US and Taliban negotiators continue their work in Qatar.
Ghani insisted on Sunday that next month’s presidential election is essential so that Afghanistan’s leader will have a powerful mandate to decide the country’s future after years of war.
Meanwhile, the lead US negotiator has sought a peace deal by Sept. 1. It is expected to agree on the withdrawal of some 20,000 US and NATO troops and secure Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan would not be a base for other extremist groups.