Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, on Monday at a press conference said that the Afghan people will defend the country if war is imposed on them.
“Peace was always the demand of the people of Afghanistan, but if the war has been imposed on them, they have no choice but to defend themselves," Abdullah said, “however, peace efforts are ongoing.”
“My message in the last meeting with Taliban representatives in Moscow was that both sides will not reach a result by force--by war. This will not be possible if the Taliban try to reach their target militarily,” Abdullah said.
In a meeting with US President Biden in Washington, Abdullah said that Biden pledged that the US “will be with the people of Afghanistan in the peace process and will also continue to support the Afghan security forces.”
“The US president also emphasized the need for political consensus,” he said.
Abdullah said that the US will end its military presence in the country but will continue its assistance to Afghanistan.
On Friday, President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah met with Biden at the White House and the US president promised a “sustained” partnership, said the Afghan leaders.
President Ghani and Chairman Abdullah also met at the Pentagon with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
While Biden vowed that the US was committed to assisting Afghanistan, he also insisted that it was time for the American military to step back, according to the Associated Press.
On Friday, President Ghani said that Afghans will not be compelled by force and that the Taliban should agree to a ceasefire and enter a political process.
Ghani spoke at a press conference following meetings with President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other American officials and lawmakers, and said that the Afghan forces are prepared to ensure the country’s security and that he respects the decision by the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
“Force is not a way to compel an Afghan to submission. We still call on them to have a ceasefire and to engage in a political process because a political settlement is the ultimate mechanism of ending a war. As Lincoln said, the best way of treating an enemy is to turn him into a friend,” he said.
Violence remains high in the country amid stalled peace negotiations. Several districts are contested between the Afghan forces and the Taliban.