President Ashraf Ghani said he is optimistic to end the 40 years of crisis in the country as he pointed to ongoing efforts for a national consensus on a peace plan.
“The national consensus for peace will be implemented,” Ghani said. “The people who think they can damage the national will (for peace) should rethink about peace. The way that the country comes to a consensus on will be followed until we achieve peace,” said Ghani.
In the meantime, Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar at a press conference in Kabul said he has offered a peace plan to government and that the plan is now on the table of President Ghani and senior US officials.
Based on the plan, he said, a political office should be opened for the Taliban in Kabul and then parts of the country should be handed over to the group as safe zones where they will live with their families.
“Taliban leaders and their families should live in non-war zones which are far from military personnel and are safe. Facilities should be provided for them, rockets should not be fired on them and should not be under prosecution,” Hekmatyar said.
Government has rejected any plan on handing some parts of the country as safe zones to the Taliban. Taliban has also condemned the plan, claiming that it will disintegrate Afghanistan and that it is something against their will.
Hekmatyar however said his plan is being discussed in the Pentagon and the White House.
“In a meeting where other officials were also present, I talked with president (Ashraf Ghani) in this regard and explained the plan. He agreed with most articles of the plan, except one part… which is the regions (safe zones) that he (President Ghani) might take the final decision on it after consulting with other officials,” he said.
The Afghan government announced a without precondition peace offer to Taliban last month in the second Kabul Process conference to bring the group to negotiations table. However, Taliban has not officially responded to the offer so far.
Some Afghans meanwhile said Taliban can join the peace process, but no province or region should be handed to them, because “they have killed manypeople”.
"Peace should be made with Taliban, but provinces should not be given to them," Kandahar resident Nazir Ahmad said.
"Taliban has carried out suicide attacks, explosions and has killed many people. Thus the areas should not be given to them,” Kabul resident Ahmad Farid said.