Diplomacy

Taliban: we will 'never support' democracy in Afghanistan

By Salaam Times and AFP

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Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (C) and other members of the Taliban delegation arrive in Moscow on March 18 to attend an international conference on Afghanistan as part of the peace process. [Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool/AFP]

KABUL -- The Taliban on Wednesday (March 24) rejected a proposal by President Ashraf Ghani to hold elections later this year, after months of peace talks between the two warring sides have made little progress.

Ghani is expected to announce the election at a stakeholder conference in Turkey in April, according to two government officials.

"The government will go to Turkey with a plan for an early election that is a fair plan for the future of Afghanistan," a senior official told AFP.

Although the administration has not yet made the details of the proposed plan public, a senior Afghan government official told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Tuesday that a presidential election could be held within six months or a year after a peace deal is signed.

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Independent Election Commission (IEC) workers sit at a computer terminal while election information from all over the country is gathered at the Data Centre in Kabul on October 2, 2019. President Ashraf Ghani on March 24 called for holding free, fair and inclusive elections under the auspices of the international community in the coming year. [Wakil Kohsar/AFP]

The election would be held under the auspices of the United Nations, the European Union and the United States -- if the Taliban agree on a ceasefire, the official said.

Under the proposal, the current administration would remain in place until the vote is conducted, the official said, but the Taliban could join the government and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF).

In order to prevent any suspicions of unfair elections, Ghani and his two vice presidents, Amrullah Saleh and Sarwar Danish, are prepared to forgo their candidacy, the official said.

Taliban reject elections

The Taliban immediately rejected the proposal.

"We will never support it," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP.

The United States and other stakeholders have proposed a structure for a future government, including an interim transitional government, and a political roadmap for a lasting ceasefire.

When the term of a transitional government ends, the future leader of Afghanistan will be elected through a popular vote, according to the draft of a US proposal.

Leaders may be chosen only at the ballot box, Ghani has insisted.

"We stand ready to discuss holding free, fair and inclusive elections under the auspices of the international community," he said earlier this month, according to RFE/RL.

Afghanistan will remain "independent", Ghani said Wednesday at the inauguration ceremony of the Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz province, TOLOnews reported.

Taliban co-founder and deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar told a Moscow conference last week that Afghans "should be left to decide their own fate", without elaborating how.

Efforts to speed up the peace process

At the March 18 Moscow conference, the United States, China, Pakistan and Russia appealed for a reduction in violence in Afghanistan in order to "create a favourable atmosphere for achieving a politico-diplomatic settlement".

The two sides should reach an agreement "as soon as possible" that would "bring an end to over four decades of war in Afghanistan", said the international mediators.

Kabul wants to speed up negotiations, Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, said in a show of support for international efforts.

He called for "the two sides to start their talks and discussions in a different atmosphere".

Negotiations have proceeded in Doha, Qatar, since September but have made little tangible progress.

The recent meeting in Moscow and the upcoming peace conference scheduled in Turkey are "complementary to the Afghanistan peace negotiations in Doha and not as a substitute to it", the Afghan Foreign Ministry said March 15.

Some Afghans, however, have questioned Russia's true intentions in the country, particularly after the Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted an incorrect map of Afghanistan that eliminated the Afghan-Chinese border ahead of the Moscow conference.

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Taliban was a radical armed Islamic Pashtun movement, which has now become a fundamentalist Islamic military movement, as a result of developments in the region and Afghanistan, and claims to gain and administer political power based on their Islamic beliefs and perceptions in a particular geography. This movement has made strategic mistakes and come under the influence of foreign services over a couple of decades, but now Taliban, with the political experience that they have gained and understood the socio-cultural sensitivities of the new Afghan society, seeks to preserve and maintain political power in Afghanistan after the success of the peace process. Taliban have reached at a political understanding of the situation and developments that the "Islamic Emirate" with its structure, content and background will not be accepted by the public opinions of the majority of Afghans, the region and the world, so they seek a new model of an Islamic system the constitution of which and its other appendices should be completely in accordance with the principles of Islam.

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Hello! In my opinion, Taliban’s war may end, but the main issue that Afghanistan faces is that another war will start after Taliban stop their war, and this will happen either if we want or not. This is a truth because the system of this country and the main structure is bad; the right is not given to those who deserve. Today, 60 to 70 percent of the people hate the name and word of Afghan and they do not consider themselves to be Afghans. So the main issue is this one, not Taliban. First, this must be solved, because this issue is more dangerous than the other one. Thanks, Khurasani

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This issue has been solved. See the link below, Article 4 of Afghanistan's constitution explicitly states:
Article 4:
“National sovereignty in Afghanistan shall belong to the nation, which manifests directly or through its elected representatives.
The nation of Afghanistan is composed of all individuals who possess the citizenship of Afghanistan.
The nation of Afghanistan shall be comprised of Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkman, Baluch, Pachaie, Nuristani, Aymaq, Arab, Qirghiz, Qizilbash, Gujur, Brahwui and other tribes.
The word, Afghan shall apply to every citizen of Afghanistan.
No individual of the nation of Afghanistan shall be deprived of citizenship. The citizenship and asylum related matters shall be regulated by law.”
Therefore, if anyone is not satisfied and considers himself a Khorasani, he can go to Khorasan of Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan or to Goristan (graveyard).

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Taliban must fear God and not cause shedding the blood of Afghan people anymore. About one million people have been killed in the war in Afghanistan over the past 20 years. Taliban’s war was because of the foreign forces’ presence in Afghanistan. They are now leaving and a limited number of them has remained in Afghanistan; therefore, Taliban’s war is no longer legitimate. If they fought for occupation of the country, the occupation is over. They must stop the war as soon as possible because this war only takes victims from the poor people of Afghanistan.

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This is not the issue of elections, because there was widespread fraud during the five presidential and three parliamentary elections, and there was no transparency, and the legitimacy of the elections was questioned. You saw what a scandal took place in the last parliamentary elections, such as bribery and sexual demand. There are now several female members of parliament who have entered the parliament in exchange for sexual demands, and the current speaker of the parliament, who is an illiterate person, was elected as the speaker of the Wolesi Jirga (Parliament) in exchange for money. In the last two presidential elections, you saw the scandal that took place between the two election teams in both the past and the present governments, because neither team was ready to accept the result of the elections. Which elections is Ashraf Ghani talking about? There are more than 20 million voters in Afghanistan, but about one million voters participated in the elections. Ashraf Ghani received six hundred thousand votes and the other three hundred thousand votes were fraudulent, because those three hundred thousand votes were not recorded in biometric voter authentication systems. He was chosen by colonialism. So can a government, which has been formed with six hundred thousand votes, represent thirty-five million citizens? Perhaps Taliban may now have more supporters in Afghanistan than Ashraf Ghani. If they did not have supporters, they could not have lasted for twenty years.

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The United States of America and Ashraf Ghani should not cause killing of Afghans any longer. They are well aware that Taliban are not ready to make peace without change of the system. Taliban fought against the United States for twenty years and will now fight against the Afghan government for another 20 years, and after the withdrawal of the foreign forces, they may overthrow this government, and then there is a very strong possibility of a civil war. Ashraf Ghani is not ready to step down. The United States must put pressure on Ashraf Ghani to step down for the sake of peace and ending of the war and form a joint government with Taliban.

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