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Abdullah: Taliban cannot win by conflict

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah addressed a gathering on Friday marking the eighth anniversary of the death of Mutalib Beg, a former Mujahideen leader and said that a large majority of Afghans want peace and that the current opportunity should be seized.

“A dignified peace is the demand of an absolute majority of the people of Afghanistan. Any opportunity in this respect should be used,” Abdullah said.

He said the high number of casualties among the Afghan forces and the Afghan civilians is not acceptable.

“The daily casualties of the people of Afghanistan and the government forces are not tolerable for the nation. It sends a message to those fighting the war that they cannot win by conflict. The way to peace is talks with the representatives of the Afghan people, the real representatives of the Afghan people,” Abdullah added.

At the same event, Second Vice President Mohammad Sarwar Danish said the Afghan government and the people support peace, but the peace should maintain the achievements of the past 19 years.

According to Danish, the Afghan government has shown its support for peace over the past eighteen years and has always tried to ensure peace and stability in the country. But he said the opposite side – the Taliban – and their “foreign supporters” have not wanted to move this process forward.

“Even now, I am not sure that their (the Taliban’s) foreign supporters will allow them to make peace,” he said.

He suggested that in order to achieve peace, first, the intra-Afghan negotiations should begin, and then a ceasefire should be announced after that.

Danish said the peace process is a complicated process, even more than war, and that it needs collective efforts by Afghanistan’s politicians.

He said the process in its national dimension is hampered by a lack of consensus among Afghan political leaders.

“Efforts should be made to bring all views together,” he added.

Pointing to a possible peace deal, Danish said: “The people of Afghanistan have had many achievements over the past eighteen years that will never be compromised.”

He hinted at the presidential election and called on all stakeholders to “respect” the law and allow the election commission to do its work and also to respect the electoral bodies’ decisions.