Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in a campaign rally in Kabul on Tuesday said the upcoming presidential election takes precedence over the peace process and it will ensure a better future for the country.
“We have to pay attention to the election if peace does not come in the near future,” Mr. Abdullah said.
He said Afghans should go to the ballot boxes to prevent the return of a “liar group”, indirectly hinting at a possible return of the Taliban as part of a possible peace deal.
“Afghanistan does not have the tolerance that a corrupt group, a liar group comes and determines its dominance on the future of the people of Afghanistan,” Mr. Abdullah said.
Mr. Abdullah, who shares the political power with President Ashraf Ghani, his main rival in the September election, lashed out at his colleague over the release of Khalilullah Frozi, the ex-CEO Kabul Bank accused of having a key role in the collapse of the bank which once was Afghanistan’s largest financial institution.
He also criticized the release of another suspect, Najibullah Delawar, a former Senate advisor, who was jailed for over 70 days for links with terrorists and was released on bail last week.
“Has the president released Hajji Delawar to provide relief to the Haqqani network?” asked Mr. Abdullah. “When it was announced that Delawar Khan was arrested on the spot while plotting a crime and who wanted to plot a terrorist attack or was involved in carrying the terrorists in his car, a credible security source said that Haqqani network did not sleep for a night because of his [Mr. Delawar’s] arrest. Respond to it, Mr. President.”
Ex-finance minister and a key member of Mr. Abdullah campaign, Anwar-Ul-Haq Ahadi, said there is no clarity in the talks between the US and the Taliban.
“Mr. [US special envoy Zalmay] Khalilzad must respond whether we are able to seal a peace deal in one month, two months or three months,” Mr. Ahadi said, referring to Mr. Khalilzad’s negotiations with the Taliban and his efforts to sign a peace deal with the militant group.
This comes as the US and Taliban negotiators wrapped up their last round of talks on August 12. The two sides are expected to sign a peace deal in coming days or weeks which critics say will provide the ground for intra-Afghan negotiations and withdrawal of almost 5,000 foreign forces from Afghanistan.