Khalili invites rebels to peace talks
KABUL(PAN): An end to the insurgency is central to stabilising Afghanistan and militants should come to the negotiating table in the supreme national interest, Vice-President Karim Khalili said on Friday.
At a gathering on the 16th death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari, the Wahdat (Unity) party leader who was killed by the Taliban in 1995, he asked the fighters to stop thrusting themselves upon the masses.
"Ending the conflict is an urgent need and we should spare no effort to pave the ground for peace," he remarked, calling upon the guerrillas to lay down their arms and help build a better future for Afghanistan.
In today's changed situation, he said, problems could not be resolved by the use of weapons. "We have to work untiringly to bring peace to our homeland. In this regard, all Afghans should make concerted efforts."
Khalili urged the fighters to stop playing into the hands of outsiders, acknowledge the achievements made over the past decade and join the reconciliation process.
"I once again remind my brothers and sisters that our calls for peace don't mean a return to the past," the vice-president said, without elaborating.
Wolesi Jirga Speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi's election is indicative of a growing realisation of the need for unity, according to Khalili, who said lawmakers set aside their regional, ethnic and linguistic differences in electing the new speaker.
About the debate on proposed US military bases in the country, the vice-president said the Afghan government would take a decision on the issue, keeping the national interest in mind. He conceded public opinion on the sensitive question remained polarised.
In a bid to assuage regional concerns about a permanent US presence, he promised they would not allow the use of Afghan soil against neighbouring countries. However, he explained Afghanistan's interests would never be compromised to please others.
Parliamentarian Mohammad Mohaqiq, who characterised the debate on the US bases as premature, stressed the need for bringing peace to the country. Afghans would be able to discuss the proposal after restoration of stability, he said.
Former senate chairman, Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, lashed out at Pakistan's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). "Pakistan is exporting terrorism into Afghanistan, but our leaders don't say this explicitly."
He insisted the whole world acknowledged the fact that "ISI is fuelling terrorism and instability". If militant safe havens in Pakistan were not eliminated, the menace of terrorism would spread across the globe, he warned.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.