President Ashraf Ghani, while visiting Paktika province on Saturday, said at a gathering that the Taliban should provide their plans instead of sticking to slogans, but he insisted that the peace negotiations will succeed.
Ghani vowed to build Paktika as he has "built the whole of Afghanistan."
“If you (the Taliban) don’t have a plan and if you are making slogans, no one will be convinced… Is there anyone who will be convinced by slogans? We challenge them. They should come to accept being an Afghan and Muslim,” Ghani said.
“I built the whole of Afghanistan. Now is the time that there should be a real focus on Paktia, and more than that on Paktika,” he added.
Some Paktika residents and activists meanwhile said they were not allowed to Ghani’s meeting with officials and elders from the province.
“We gathered here to see the president to share our demands,” a Paktika resident said.
“We were here to see the president,” a Paktika resident said.
Meanwhile, some reporters said they were not allowed to cover the meeting.
“We decided to boycott all provincial meetings and not cover in the news,” said Khoshal Rahim, a journalist.
“Presidential guards said we cannot enter the area as journalists, but we can attend as guests,” said Zaki, a journalist.
One member of the Paktika provincial council, Afsar Khan Sulaimankhil, put tape on his mouth and posted a picture on Twitter, claiming that he was not allowed to attend Ghani’s session.
“Some favorite people were invited whose number was at least 400. They cannot represent Paktika,” Suleimankhil said.
But hours after the photo went viral on social media, presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said in a tweet that the president met with the protesting member of the provincial council and asked him to “share his demands, as he is there (in Paktika) to listen to the people.”