US presents warring Afghan sides with draft peace agreement

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2019, file photo, Afghan politician Fawzia Koofi attends the "intra-Afghan" talks in Moscow, Russia. Frustrated by a stalled peace process and escalating violence, the U.S. has presented an eight-page draft peace agreement to Afghanistan's warring sides for review. Koofi, one of only four women at the negotiation table in Doha, warned against haste and a May 1 withdrawal of U.S. troops, saying it would cause chaos. She confirmed that all sides had received the U.S.-crafted draft agreement. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File) (Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

KABUL – Frustrated by a stalled peace process and escalating violence, the U.S. has presented an eight-page draft peace agreement to Afghanistan's warring sides for review.

The U.S. told the parties to come to Turkey in the coming weeks ready to move on it, according to Afghans on both sides of the table.

The draft was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday. The document outlines the terms of a cease-fire and its enforcement, calls for the protection of the rights of women, children and minorities and envisions a truth and reconciliation commission aimed at healing 42 years of conflict.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price would not confirm the draft, saying “It’s often important for our diplomatic efforts that we’re able to conduct them in private."

The Taliban received the draft and were reviewing it, said spokesman Mohammad Naeem.

There was no immediate comment from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the draft proposal or a sternly worded letter from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

In the letter, Blinken said Washington wanted to see progress on peace talks and mentioned the draft peace agreement, which calls for a new, inclusive government — which Ghani has resisted. In recent speeches, Ghani has said no interim government would be formed “as long as I am alive.”

But Blinken was uncompromising in his letter, which was released by Afghanistan’s TOLO TV. “I am making this clear to you so that you understand the urgency of my tone regarding collective work,” he wrote.