President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in a message to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces broadcasted on state-run TV on Thursday morning said that “all barriers and excuses have been removed” ahead of the intra-Afghan talks.
He also urged the Taliban to reduce violence and to be a part of the peace process, saying: “Peace with dignity and long-lasting peace will come and we have prepared all conditions for a peace with dignity.”
The president went on saying that have met all conditions for a peace with dignity, adding that Afghans have shown their will and commitment, citing the release of the Taliban prisoners and holding the Loya Jirga.
The President called on the Taliban to accept the ceasefire and to start negotiations with the Afghan government soon. “We want to bring a peace so that all the tribes of Afghanistan live together in a peaceful and secure atmosphere,” he added.
In an interview with the UK’s The Times, the president warned that releasing of hardcore Taliban prisoners would help drug to flood UK and Europe and that all their leaders would have shared responsibility to its consequences.
“If amphetamines reach the shores of the United States, we should know that these are the consequences, and if these people commit crimes, there’s shared international responsibility.” He said.
It is really hard for Afghans to accept a group of terrorists, which was involved in killings and destruction, share the power with the government rather than being prosecuted for their criminal acts. With this in mind, Afghan representatives consented to the release of Taliban’s prisoners with preconditions, which include protecting human rights and freedoms, respecting constitutional principles, and safeguarding democratic values. In other words, the Taliban should not seek to impose their warped mind on people or establish their sharia-based emirate.
The statement issued in the Loya Jirga approved the release of 400 Taliban’s prisoners with the intention of removing hurdles before the intra-Afghan dialogue, reduction in violence and bloodshed, and public interests. Afghan representatives called the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, declare immediate and permanent ceasefire, and the released prisoners do not return to the battlefields. The statement also called on the international community to prevent the intervention of the neighboring countries and Taliban’s supporters in the issue of Afghanistan.
The people of Afghanistan expect the warring sides not to hold the talks behind closed doors and the voice of public should not fall on deaf ears. That is to say, the concerns of Afghan people – who paid heavy sacrifices within the last two decades for the establishment and empowerment of democracy – should be addressed in the intra-Afghan dialogue.
Although a number of Afghan people and international communities voiced their concern about the release of the Taliban’s hardcore fighters, but the government in a bold move for peace as well as to remove all barriers before the intra-Afghan talks, have agreed to release all their prisoners, as Afghans are highly frustrated with war and violence and will support any decisions, which ensure peace and stability.
Now it is the Taliban to signal their determination for peace through declaring ceasefire. The Taliban leadership should call its rank and file to respect the humanitarian law and stop targeting civilians. They have to start intra-Afghan dialogue without any further ifs and buts and should not bring any reasons and excuses in the process.
Afghan people and government will support the peace process to ensure peace as well as their fundamental rights and freedoms. They never want to backtrack or have their rights at stake.