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I am a champion of peace, not obstacle: Afghan President Ghani

Hours after a senior Taliban leader called him an “obstacle” in the peace process, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was a “champion” of peace, not an obstacle to it, reported TOLOnews

Jan 30, 2021
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Hours after a senior Taliban leader called him an “obstacle” in the peace process, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was a “champion” of peace, not an obstacle to it, reported TOLOnews. In his address to Aspen Security Forum on Friday,   Ghani said no one should underestimate their resolve, and they had no plans to live somewhere else. He also denied the rumors of an interim government in the country. 

We have seen in the past that such an idea always led to more bloodshed and instability, he said.

Earlier on Friday, Abbas Stanekzai, a senior Taliban leader, accused the Ghani government of not handing over power to the next government, thus creating hurdles in the process.

“The citizens of Afghanistan must be empowered… Where would I get the authority to dissolve the Republic? I have sworn to uphold the constitution,” Ghani was quoted as saying by TOLOnews.

On foreign troop withdrawal, he said the current level of violence must be factored in when they (US and NATO) plan their next step. “We must ask what is required to preserve the legacy of the US presence in Afghanistan,” he added.

Ghani also stressed having an enforcement mechanism for the Taliban’s commitments. “You have to have ironclad agreements and verification mechanisms," he said, adding many peace agreements are Trojan horses, they promise the moon and deliver the opposite.

Similarly, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, speaking at an event by a Washington based think tank USIP on Friday, said they were taking a “hard look” at the extent to which the Taliban were complying with their commitments made under the US-Taliban deal.

Sullivan said there are basically three main commitments: first, cutting ties with al-Qaeda and terrorist networks; second, a significant reduction of violence leading to a ceasefire; third, participate in “real, not fake” meaningful dialogue with the Afghan government for a political agreement.  

Significantly, the comment came after Taliban leader Abbas Stanekzai had said that the group should not be expected to lay down its arms as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan. Stanekzai told reporters on Friday while addressing a press conference in Moscow, Russia.

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