President Ashraf Ghani said on Wednesday that the key to peace is in Afghanistan because the Afghan government has a roadmap and a plan for peace.
He made the remarks at a gathering of at least 2,500 youths, from 300 districts, where they discussed peace and the role of youths in this process.
“The key to peace is in Afghanistan because we have the scheme, plan and roadmap for peace, but the key for war is in Islamabad, Quetta and Rawalpindi,” Ghani said.
Earlier this week, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said the key for peace was in the hands of Afghans. He made the remark during a media briefing in Kabul following last week’s Doha talks.
Khalilzad’s remark on “the key for peace” was met with mixed reaction by Afghan analysts and mainstream political parties.
Some said that the key to peace does not lie in Kabul, but lies rather in Rawalpindi.
Ghani said the gathering was the start for a national forum and that it would lead to changes in the perceptions of achieving peace.
“Our goal is sustainable peace, but the bitter reality is that international experiences have shown that 50 percent of peace agreements have resulted in worse wars and the reason for this is (stakeholders have been too) hasty to achieve peace,” Ghani said.
He said “international organizations do not have successful experience on peace” therefore, the goal for sustainable peace will be accepted by the nation while peace should be achieved through a clear way and based on the nation’s will.
Ghani talked about the legitimacy of his government “which American analysts say has been questioned by recent peace negotiations between US and Taliban officials”.
“If (Afghan) government is not legitimate, then where has Taliban gotten their legitimacy from?” Ghani asked, adding that religious scholars in Mecca and Indonesia said that suicide attacks and the killing of civilians are forbidden.
This was in reference to attacks by the Taliban that were carried out during last week’s talks.
Ghani said the president’s authority is in the hands of the people and has been defined by the Constitution.
“I ask the Taliban if they have prepared their talks roadmap or have they been prepared by others; and is their authority in their hands or in the hands of strangers?” Ghani asked.
He mentioned that the Afghan government’s talks with the Taliban would be unconditional but according to him peace with Taliban “will have conditions”.
Ghani called on the Taliban to respect the will of the people and said his responsibility is to safeguard the honor of Afghans.
Ghani, meanwhile, talked about the upcoming presidential elections and said he wants the results to be announced through a transparent process within two days of votes being cast.
Ghani said that the “people no longer trust the election commissions and that widespread reforms are required in the electoral bodies.”
He said the election law will be amended – to facilitate further reforms in the commissions.
The presidential elections are scheduled to be held on July 20 as per a timeline announced by the Independent Election Commission.