Afghanistan’s former Vice President Mohammad Younus Qanooni on Thursday said that discussions about an interim government at this juncture is intended to pave the way for the Taliban’s comeback.
Qanooni stated that there are no solid guarantees that the Taliban will accept the elections.
Qanooni also accused the High Council of National Reconciliation of secrecy in the peace process, saying the politicians outside the government are working on a draft plan about the peace.
Qanooni made the remarks during the inauguration of a new political movement named “Mawj-e-Etedal Wa Hamsoyee."
“The end of transition--which is discussed by our friends—will it be an election or it is the settlement council? Or the return of the Islamic emirate based on Islamic jurisprudence? Which one?” said Qanooni.
Qanooni went on to say that if the peace process does not reach some sort of conclusion, the next option will be a joint defense and national mobilization.
“The national defense mobilization, the resistance and jihad forces, the new generation, anti-Taliban forces who oppose the Taliban’s ideology--whether they belong to the post-2001 generation or before that—there is an army of 20 million in the heart of this land that can fill the gap that will arise as a result of the foreign forces' withdrawal,” added Qanooni.
“We need to know about the nature of the interim government, do we talk about the interim govt which was established after the Dr. Najibullah government or it is a new chapter of the Bonn Conference?” asked Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, a former adviser to the president on UN affairs.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the future of foreign troops in Afghanistan will be discussed at the upcoming meeting of NATO defense ministers.
We will discuss the future of NATO's presence in Afghanistan at the upcoming Defense Ministerial meeting this month. Because we are faced with a real dilemma: either to leave as is stated in the US-Taliban agreement or to stay. And we will assess that very carefully. Also, look into whether the Taliban meets the conditions enshrined in the agreement between the US and the Taliban.
“We are faced with a difficult decision, and we have to make that together. Because my message is that there will be costs and challenges, whatever we decide,” added the NATO chief.
“If we decide to leave, we risk jeopardizing the peace process, we risk losing the gains we have made in the fight against international terrorism over the last years, and we risk that Afghanistan once again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists,” he said.
Meanwhile, a study group appointed by US Congress called on the Biden administration to slow the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, remove the May 1 exit deadline, and instead reduce the number of troops only as security conditions improve in the country.
The report finds that removing international forces by the May 1 deadline set in the US-Taliban peace agreement could lead to a civil war in Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan Study Group began its congressionally-mandated work in April 2020, just weeks after the US and the Taliban signed an agreement on February 2020 on the conditions for a US troop withdrawal that would end the US’s long military engagement in Afghanistan.
“We have an interest in an Afghanistan that respects basic human rights. We do not, however, believe that securing these interests requires a permanent US military presence in Afghanistan,” the group said in the report.