Diplomacy

Ghani urges Taliban to 'have courage' and 'declare ceasefire'

Salaam Times and AFP

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (centre) walks with Qatari Foreign Minister Sultan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi (2nd right) upon his arrival in Doha on October 5. Ghani was in Doha for two days to confer on Afghan peace with Qatari officials, three weeks after the launch of landmark peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. [Press Office of President of Afghanistan/AFP]

DOHA -- President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday (October 6) called on the Taliban to "have courage and declare a national ceasefire" as he visited Doha where peace talks between government and Taliban negotiators have slowed.

At the end of a two-day trip, his first to Doha since the talks began, Ghani gave a lecture where he said Afghanistan's long conflict had to be resolved through negotiation, "not under the barrel of the gun".

"Nobody is going to wipe you out," he said in front of a socially distanced crowd of diplomats and academics, three weeks after the launch of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Talks between the two sides have slowed over disagreements on how to frame a code of conduct that will guide the broader talks.

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President Ashraf Ghani speaks at the Doha-based think-tank Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies on October 6. [Afghan Presidential Palace]

Headline issues, including a ceasefire or the type of governance that will shape Afghanistan's future, have yet to be discussed.

Meanwhile, violence continues to rage in Afghanistan, with a suicide attack targeting Laghman Governor Rahmatullah Yarmal, killing at least eight people and wounding 28 on Monday (October 5).

Yarmal was unhurt, governor's spokesman Assadullah Dawlatzai told AFP.

On Saturday (October 3) at least 15 people, mostly civilians, were killed and more than 40 others wounded in a truck bombing that targeted a government building in Nangarhar Province, officials said.

A suicide bomber detonated the vehicle full of explosives at the entrance of an administrative building that also housed some military facilities in Ghani Khel District, governor's spokesman Ataullah Khogyani told AFP.

"As a result, 13 civilians including one woman and four children were killed," he said. "Two members of security forces were also killed."

Forty-two people, including four security force members, were wounded, he said, adding that several armed attackers who tried to enter the building after the assault were killed by security forces.

At least 14 civilians, including seven women and five children, were killed by a roadside bomb in Daikundi Province on September 29, said Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesman Tariq Arian.

Three children were wounded, he added, blaming the Taliban.

Opportunity for peace

In Doha, Ghani discussed the peace process with Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who reaffirmed Doha's commitment to facilitate it.

The talks, which began with much fanfare after months of delays, have made little progress, but Ghani sidestepped questions over whether they have stalled.

"We cannot end 20 years of war in 20 days," he told reporters as he left the lecture.

Earlier, Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Muhammad Hanif Atmar reiterated that no agreement had been reached by the two sides on the code of conduct that will govern the talks.

The Taliban and the Afghan government are struggling to agree on common language on two issues before they can establish an agenda.

The Taliban, who are Sunni hardliners, are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shia, and other minorities.

Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future peace deal and how to refer to it.

"The Afghan team have presented a number of counter-proposals to find common ground," Atmar said, but "they have not reached an agreement on the two issues".

"Definitely things take time," Khairullah Khairkhaw, a senior member of the Taliban negotiating team, told reporters in Doha.

"There are many issues, 20 or more, that need clarity," he said.

No official meetings have taken place between the two sides in almost a week. However, both have insisted they continue to informally discuss ways to move forward.

Also in Doha, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted after a meeting with Ghani that the "president should not let the opportunity for peace to slip away" and that the United States remains ready to assist.

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Ashraf Ghani's speech at the think-tank Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Doha, Qatar was excellent. He defended the democratic system of Afghanistan with his excellent speech and made clear the benefits of this system to the people. He pointed out that if peace is achieved, Afghanistan will develop quickly, because Afghanistan is a rich country and all its mines are left untouched. He also said that 75٪ of the population of Afghanistan is young who will contribute to the economic prosperity of the country. Therefore, Dr. Ghani’s visit from Qatar was a positive step towards a lasting peace as well as defending the democratic system in this country, because Qatar is the only country which supports Taliban’s Emirate system.

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Continuation of part one During Taliban’s era, there was a relative peace and security in this country. There was an Islamic system in this country, but for some Afghan politicians this system was not to their liking; they wanted a secular system in this country; they went and asked America to come to Afghanistan. They came to Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban’s government and the United States brought Hamid Karzai on the tank to Afghanistan and appointed him as the President. After a couple of years, Taliban reorganized themselves and launched a jihad against the occupation. Their jihad was also right against the American occupying forces, but there was a defect in Taliban’s jihad, as Taliban inflicted casualties on the civilians, and this sparked people’s hatred against the group. To cut a long story short, Taliban won the war against the United States and the United States was forced to withdraw from this country. Now Taliban consider themselves victorious and say that they have ended the occupation. Now Ashraf Ghani, who has gained less than one million votes in the elections through fraud and Americans influence, cannot say that he is representative of the people of Afghanistan and that he became the President through the people’s votes and Taliban should come and surrender to him. If Ashraf Ghani really wants peace and is not thirsty for power, he should step down from the power for the sake of the peace of Afghanistan and accept the reasonable demands of Taliban, wh

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Ghani should also have courage and step down from power for the sake of peace. Peace will not come when Ghani is in power and Taliban come and surrender to the government. Why have Taliban been fighting for the last twenty years? The two main reasons that Taliban had been fighting were that foreign forces should withdraw from Afghanistan and that the system needed to be changed. Now the foreigners are withdrawing and leaving Afghanistan. The second reason for the war of Taliban is still remaining, and it is that Taliban want the system to be changed. Then they will be ready to make peace and declare a ceasefire. When Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, wants Taliban to have courage and announce the ceasefire, he should also say that he is ready to resign for the sake of peace and ending of the war if Taliban declare the ceasefire. That’s how peace in this country will come. The forty-years' long war in Afghanistan was for the sake of power and the power-seeking of the Afghan politicians. No one asked the Afghan people what system they want. All political leaders consider themselves to be representatives of their people and say that the people want such and such a system. Forty years ago, differences arose between Parcham and Khalq parties. They accused the Khalq Party for weak governance and wanted a change in the system. So they requested Russia to bring its troops to Afghanistan and transformed the system. Russia came to Afghanistan and brought Babrak Karmal on the t

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If it comes to democracy, then the Hanafi jurisprudence is ahead because the number of those following Hanafi jurisprudence in Afghanistan is 80 to 90% and Shias are merely 8 or 9%. Another point is that, nothing is given to Sunnis in Iran. Shias have to be thankful because they are allowed at least to solve their internal issues through Jafari jurisprudence in Afghanistan.

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