In a virtual interview given for the US Institute of Peace on Wednesday, Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High National Reconciliation Council, discussed his idea for bringing peace to Afghanistan and said that there are still serious concerns among the Afghan people about their civil liberties and rights despite their hopes this time there will be peace in the country.
He said that all factions involved in the war must come to a conclusion and resolve their conflict at the peace table.
“Four decades of war does not mean that we can not solve it…it should compel all of us to look back and come to a conclusion that there is no military solution for the war and that takes more than one side,” said Abdullah.
“If there is a thinking in the other side-- and hopefully that is not the case-- that the US troops may withdraw and we may not have to come to a settlement, we might overcome by force that will be a mistake, a great mistake. That will be another missed opportunity for the Afghans,” Abdulllah Abdullah said, warning that the Taliban shouldn’t think of taking over the country bv force.
He said that Afghans can't afford another mistake like the 1980s.
“I hope that nobody will make that mistake,” said Abdullah.
Abdullah went on to say that there are a lot of support for peace despite the Afghan people's continued concerns about their rights and civil liberties.
In a question about the dramatic surge in the Taliban’s violence, Abdullah said: “That is a serious challenge, the continuation of violence…the level of violence that we have been witnessed to specially in the past few weeks—we have communicated through different channels to the Taliban, to our partners, to different countries which have leverages that while we are serious in pursuit of talks and also preparing the ground for negotiations and also expediting the exchange of prisoners …at the same time, the continuation of the current level of violence which is not justified at all, it makes the people worry, I am extremely concerned that where we are leading.”
He said that violence makes the political environment difficult and must be avoided.
Abdullah said that 75 percent of the prisoners listed by the Taliban have been released by the Afghan government.
Under the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha on Febr 29, the Taliban demanded the release of their 5,000 inmates from the Afghan government’s jails to facilitate the way for the intra-Afghan talks.
Abdullah gave assurances that the Afghan women will be part of the negotiating team.
“We cant achieve peace with sacrificing the basic and fundamental right of our people,” Abdullah said.
He said that the peace negotiating team will represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the shared values of the country.
Abdullah said that the US forces are continuing their partnership with the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF).
“Our international partners are also concerned about the increased level of violence, we all understand that it puts under question sustainability of hoping for getting to the negotiating table,” said Abdullah.
On the US troops withdrawal, Abdullah said: “It is condition-based, there are other conditions as well including the presence of Al Qaeda, ISIS and other troops and the way to deal with it and also Afghanistan not being base for terrorist groups which poses threats to our citizens as well as our international partners.”
Abdullah also said that all sides should make compromises to have a lasting peace in the country. He said that compromises cant be made from one side.
In a question about the possibility of an interim government in Afghanistan, Abdullah said: “It looks hypothetical , Lets get to the negotiating table, lets talk there, if they say an interim government for the sake of creation of an interim government, that has a different meaning------ lets get there and everybody has to be free to raise any proposal and we have to be flexible in our talks, nothing should derail us from getting to a durable and acceptable peace.”
On June 12, In a virtual interview given for the Atlantic Council on Thursday, President Ashraf Ghani laid out his vision for peace in Afghanistan and highlighted the importance of a ceasefire and a reduction in violence to kickstart the intra-Afghan talks.
However, Ghani rejected the possibility of the formation of an interim government in Afghanistan as a result of a potential peace deal with the Taliban.
Ghani said that he will not repeat the historic mistake committed by the Soviet-backed president Dr. Najibullah.
“Dr. Najibullah made the mistake of his life by announcing that he was going to resign...Please don't ask us to replay a film that we know where it ends." Ghani said.
Previously, sources said that the intra-Afghan talks will be convened in Doha once the release of the 5,000 Taliban prisoners has been concluded.
Abdullah said that instability in Afghanistan affects the entire region.
He asked the regional nations to use their leverage constructively on the Taliban to help Afghanistan reaching a durable peace.
On Sunday the Afghan government annnounced last week to be the bloodiest week of the country's war.
The National Security Council said Monday the Taliban had carried out 422 "terrorist activities" in 32 provinces last week, "killing 291 government troops and wounding 550 others."
While the nation anticipates the beginning of the intra-Afghan talks and violence levels to reduce, the National Security Council has accused the Taliban of escalating violence, saying last week was the deadliest week in 19 years of war.