Comprehensive peace strategy evolved, Wolesi Jirga told
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan government has neither initiated direct peace talks with the Taliban nor it has made any offer in this regard, but has evolved a comprehensive strategy to achieve peace, the Wolesi Jirga was told on Wednesday.
Testifying before the lower house after being summoned, High Peace Council (HPC) officials, Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and a member of the National Security Council (NSC) briefed lawmakers about the Afghan government and international efforts to revive the stalled peace talks.
In pursuit of peace, President Ashraf Ghani has visited Pakistan, China and Saudi Arabia and a Taliban delegation has reportedly visited China and Pakistan. However, the Taliban have rejected their delegation had visited Pakistan and China.
HPC deputy head Azizullah Din Mohammad, HPC secretary Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai, Salahuddin Rabbani and NSC member Mohammad Ibrahim on Wednesday appeared before the national assembly to brief lawmakers about the situation.
Lawmakers insisted the government should keep them informed about every development in the peace process. They said elements trying to sabotage the process should be arrested and an exclusive strategy indicating that Afghanistan wanted peace with the Taliban, the US and Pakistan be evolved.
The lawmakers said peace talks should be held with those endorsing Afghanistan’s laws and not threatening the gains made over the past decade. They also cautioned Afghanistan to avoid blind faith in assertions of Pakistani officials and making offers in return for winning peace.
Din Mohammad said many conditions should be considered for achieving peace and the peace process should not be doubted because there was no alternative except peace to end the Afghanistan conflict.
He confirmed Afghan officials were yet to enter face-to-face talks with the Taliban and that no offer had been made to any party. He said it was wrong to think that Afghanistan would cut a deal on the Durand Line in an exchange for winning peace with the insurgents.
He said no talks had taken with Pakistan on the Durand Line because the border was not on the agenda of peace talks.
Salahuddin Rabbani also said so far no direct talks had taken place with the Taliban and no one had been offered anything in this regard.
“We want a respectable peace for Afghanistan. We are giving serious attention to the achievements of the past 13 years and will preserve them,” said Rabbani, a former chief of the HPC.
The foreign minister said every part of the peace process would be transparent and the parliament would be informed with time to time about every progress so that everything was clear to the nation.
“As the Afghanistan conflict has internal and external factors, its peace has also the same factors, that’s why bringing overall peace is not easy in one or two years.”
Rabbani said all government officials were making efforts for peace in the country because it was the only way to end the conflict.
He said Afghan officials had made foreign trips to secure peace and Saudi Arabia, China, Tajikistan, Turkey and Islamic and regional countries had supported the Afghan peace process.
HPC Secretary Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai said the council and the government had a strong will to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
“Sometimes incorrect reports appear in the media about the peace process and such reports have a negative impact on people’s mind as they think a deal is being cut to win peace.”
Stanikzai said a comprehensive strategy had been evolved for bringing peace to the country and the strategy would be shared with the parliament soon.
Under the strategy, he said, peace negotiators were being appointed to overtly advance all peace negotiations.
He also said an advisory group of women would be constituted as part of the peace process because Afghanistan’s national interest would be kept supreme.
Stanikzai said many problems still existed in the peace effort and the Afghans should work together to resolve them.
He said Afghanistan should maintain balanced relations with its neighbours and regional countries so that the country could have good relations with all.
“We are not seeking a peace that enslaves Afghanistan, “said Stanikzai, who urged Afghan leaders to prepare their minds for making the peace process a success.
NSC member Mohammad Ibrahim only said he was optimistic the peace process would succeed.
First deputy speaker Abdul Zahir Qadir, who presided over the session, said the explanations offered by the summoned officials were acceptable to them.
He said the lower house was supportive of the peace process and asked the government to evolve an effective strategy in this regard.
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