Afghan political leaders Saturday attended the first meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation where they stressed the need for unity and consensus among political leaders to move the peace efforts forward.
Addressing the meeting, President Ghani said the requirement is clear and that it is an agreement on the roadmap for peace.
He said the peace negotiations have entered the second phase in which there is a need for more consultations.
“The peace negotiations have reached the second phase. The first phase showed that the task was not easy, but it succeeded,” Ghani said.
Abdullah Abdullah, who leads the council, stressed the need for consensus around peace and said it needed more than ever.
He said the leadership committee of the council represents all segments of the society and the diversity of the Islamic Republic.
“The guideline of the High Council for National Reconciliation in its efforts to achieve peace is the national interest of the country. We will decide after consultation and fully accommodating the rightful demands of the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
He said that from now on, the regular meetings of the leadership committee will take place to discuss the peace process.
“The first demand of the people of Afghanistan is the reduction in violence and a permanent ceasefire,” he said.
Abdullah said Peace needs unity, consensus, and inclusivity in words and in action, adding that peace needs sacrifices, and “we are ready to fully engage with the Taliban to discuss all issues.”
“We have to agree on how to preserve the achievements of the past, and at the same time move forward and have a political settlement. There might be a time that requires the decision of the people of AFG, at that point we shall decide collectively on how to consult the people,” Abdullah said. “The people of Afghanistan demand peace, and an end to war, violence and bloodshed. We have to end the war and open a new peaceful chapter in our country. I do not have any personal agenda in seeking peace. My aim and only aim is a permanent peace in Afghanistan.”
Abdullah called for a permanent ceasefire in the country and said “war destroys the country, and everyone, but peace will guarantee a future for everyone.
He said the release of the Taliban prisoners was a bold step and that it demonstrates that the people of Afghanistan are ready for sacrifice if needed.
Abdullah said Afghanistan requires international and regional support to achieve enduring peace.
Addressing the meeting of the reconciliation council, former president Hamid Karzai said the meeting is a good step for peace, which is the demand of every Afghan.
He said peace efforts will succeed when there is unity among Afghans and that it is an obligation for Afghans to end the bloodshed.
Former Jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf said peace is a responsibility and that Afghans want peace with dignity in which the country's national sovereignty is preserved.
Sayyaf said he is ready to support the efforts of the reconciliation council for peace.
Former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni said at the event that the peace process should be taken out of the “two electoral teams,” reiterating that peace is a national process.
Qanooni said war is not the solution and that political settlement is the way forward to peace in the country.