Lawmakers in Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga (Lower House of Parliament) said on Monday that President Ashraf Ghani’s recent peace offer to the Taliban must be put to parliament for discussion as there were many shortcomings in the offer.
This comes hours after Ghani left Kabul for Uzbekistan to attend an international conference on peace in Afghanistan.
MPs argued that there are some gaps in the president’s peace offer to the Taliban which needs to be reviewed. But other lawmakers insist that to attain sustainable peace, a comprehensive plan must be worked on.
Referring to the recent spate of attacks in Afghanistan, the lawmakers said that the dream of peace will not be realized until the motives behind the war in Afghanistan are addressed.
“Eighty percent of insecurity is linked with corruption, violation of law and ethical corruption,” said one MP Obaidullah Barakzai.
“The fifth pillar elements which exist in the security forces, army, national security council and other places need to be identified,” said MP Arif Rahmani.
Meanwhile another MP Shahgul Rezayee said: “Insurgent groups are given privileges under the pretext of peace, there is no agenda for peace in Afghanistan and to end the killings.”
Some other MPs however raised doubts over the peace efforts made by the High Peace Council (HPC).
“We can not achieve peace in the presence of the High Peace Council; I recommend the closure of this council,” said MP Shahzada Shahid.
“There are some people in the High Peace Council who are part of the issue in Afghanistan,” MP Jaffar Mahdawi said.
Another MP Abdul Qayoum Sajjadi said: “We must work on a national plan for peace in Afghanistan.”
“The recommendations made to the Taliban by government do not reflect the recommendations of the people of Afghanistan and instead they are the personal recommendations of the president,” said first deputy speaker of parliament Humayoun Humayoun.
But Ghani’s spokesman Shahhussain Murtazawi defended Ghani’s peace offer.
“There is internal consensus on the plan, discussion was held about the plan with all walks of people, we have a collective support of it in Afghanistan and also on regional and broader levels,” he said.
Last month Afghanistan held an international conference on peace in a bid to map the way forward to get the Taliban to denounce violence, endorse the Afghan constitution and enter into purposeful peace negotiations with government.
Ghani said the peace process, and a ceasefire must be agreed upon with the Taliban.
Ghani also called on Pakistan to hold talks government to government and said: “We will be ready to starts talks with Pakistan and forget the past and start a new chapter.”
Ghani sent a strong message to the Taliban however, and said today peace is in their hands. He called on the group to accept the offer and to join the peace process and together with Afghanistan “save the country”.
He also announced the Afghan government will provide passports to Taliban members and their families and will issue visas, open an office for them - even in Kabul - and will also work to remove sanctions against Taliban leaders.