Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called himself a champion in peace in Afghanistan and not an obstacle to peace, reports Afghan news channel Tolo News.
He was responding to the Taliban’s remarks expressed on Friday who accused his government of hindering the efforts to end the conflicts through a political settlement.
Addressing the ASPEN Security Forum, President Ghani highlighted the Afghan peace process, fight against terrorist group ISIS and the rumours about the establishment of an interim government as a result of a potential peace agreement with the Taliban.
He rejected the prospect for the establishment of interim government in the country in the wake of the past experience and said that he has sworn in to uphold the constitution.
“We’ve had interim governments. They have led to bloodshed,” President Ghani said, adding that an interim setup in Afghanistan would be detrimental.
“The citizens of Afghanistan must be empowered… Where would I get the authority to dissolve the Republic? I have sworn to uphold the constitution,” Ghani said, apparently referring to a key Taliban negotiator’s remarks who said they will agree on peace when Ghani steps down.
He said the current level of violence should be considered when it comes to plans to withdraw US troops from the country.
“We must ask what is required to preserve the legacy of the US presence in Afghanistan,” Ghani said.
He said that no one should underestimate “our resolve” and that “none of us has plans to live somewhere else or abandon this country that has suffered so much.”
There should be a strong verification mechanism for Taliban’s commitments, he added.
“You have to have ironclad agreements and verification mechanisms… Many peace agreements are Trojan horses. They promise the moon and deliver the opposite,” he reiterated.
ABBAS STANEKZAI: Meanwhile, Abbas Stanekzai, the deputy head of the Taliban’s negotiating team, claimed at a press conference in Moscow that the government is the “only hurdle” in the Afghan peace process.
He said that no one should expect the Taliban to lay down their arms as long as the international troops remain in the country.
He alleged that Presidnet Ghani made different statements. He claimed that Ghani had said that if a future government is established, he should be the leader, the president.
“You can see that they are lobbying NATO and the US to prolong their government.”
“Ashraf Ghani’s administration is the only hurled for peace,” he maintained.
The administration has not given their negotiating team full authority for talks, Stanekzai added, reiterating that the Taliban’s negotiating team has the authority to make decagons on the table of negotiations about peace-related matters.