Speaking at the second leadership meeting of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of HCNR, said that “dignified and acceptable” peace is a top priority for the HCNR and the negotiation team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
The second leadership meeting of the HCNR was held today, Saturday, December 26, in Kabul.
“There is no top priority other than [making] an acceptable and dignified peace,” Abdullah said at the meeting. We need to protect the achievements gained over last 19 years if we want to make peace with ourselves and the work, Abdullah emphasized.
The world and the region support what HCNR chairperson described as a “strong determination” in Afghanistan for bringing about peace in the country. “The negotiation venue must not cause postponement of the negotiations. The [Afghan government’s negotiation” team must participate in negotiations with certainty.”
“We expect you to represent the Afghan people with more firmness than the past … you are all the owners of the peace process and represent all Afghans,” he addressed the Republic’s negotiation team. He further noted that the negotiation team is accountable to the HCNR.
On the other hand, the First Vice President, Amrullah Saleh, noted that the Taliban will not be able to win the ongoing war by killing influential figures, civil society activists, journalists and the women rights activists. He added that this will make the war more complicated which will not be beneficial for none of the warring parties.
Touching on the Taliban’s apparent reliance to win the war militarily, Mr. Saleh noted that the situation was very different than the year 1996 when the Taliban defeated the Mujahideen and took over the capital Kabul.
As per account of Saleh, the war in Afghanistan is complicated due to its external dimensions and the Republic side need to be aware of its complexity. “There is no power whose weapons are not used in Afghanistan.”
Reiterating on making a “dignified” peace for which no side will feel isolated or insulted, the First Vice President asserted that cooperation with the international community and providing guarantees by the world, region, and neighboring countries for a peace agreement with the Taliban and its implementation.
Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, a member of the HCNR leadership committee, said that the Afghan government has the will to make peace but the Republic negotiation team needs to realize whether or not the Taliban have such will. Commending the Republic’s negotiation team in its negotiation with the Taliban, he also stressed that the negotiation team needs to maintain its unity.
In a message sent to the HCNR leadership committee, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, another member of the Council’s leadership committee, noted that the political participation must be considered in order to bring about a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Younus Qanooni, another prominent member of the HCNR, called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to resort to finding a solution out of the ongoing challenges instead of focusing on confrontation. The war takes lives on daily basis in Afghanistan and the government authorities must find a solution to save lives, he further stated.
Mohammad Mohaqiq, another member of the HCNR’s leadership committee, said that peace will be not achieved as violence continues. The negotiating parties must agree on declaring a ceasefire in the next round of negotiations, he said.
Describing the talks with the Taliban as “bumpy” road, Massom Stanekzai, chief negotiator of the Republic’s negotiation team, noted that the negotiation team will consider consultations and advices in talks with the Taliban. According to him, the Republic’s negotiation team has been able to question the basis of the Taliban’s will for violence and raise the need for declaring a ceasefire.
This comes as negotiation teams of the government and the Taliban are on a 21-day break in the intra-Afghan talks in a bid to consult with their leaderships on principles and terms of reference (TOR) the two parties have agreed on for a substantive talks.