He added the US has shared the agenda for the Istanbul Conference with Afghan officials and that among the topics listed is that of an interim government, a ceasefire and the preservation of gains made over the past two decades.
This comes a day after US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in Kabul on Saturday to discuss the way forward regarding the summit and the peace process.
On Sunday, addressing a gathering of Kohdaman residents in support of republic in the country, VP Saleh said that the agenda will also include discussions on achievements made by Afghanistan over the past 20 – especially those relating to the rights of the people.
VP Saleh meanwhile criticized the Taliban for their lack of contribution during the recent Moscow summit and said the group presented nothing but insults. He also said Sunday that the Taliban were “strangers” and questioned how Afghanistan could hand over the country under such circumstances.
VP Saleh said that the Taliban was afraid to go to the polls in an election as they “know” they will only secure five percent of the people’s vote.
Meanwhile he stated that one of government’s biggest mistakes was releasing the 5,000 Taliban prisoners last year – as per the US agreement with the group.
He said of these prisoners freed, 75 percent have returned to the battlefields while between 40 and 50 of the freed inmates were in fact drug smugglers how paid the Taliban to help secure their release.
On the system of governance – an Emirate – that the Taliban are insisting on, VP Saleh said neither the Afghan people nor the countries in the region want this.
President Ghani also addressed the gathering and said Afghanistan has the capacity and ability to create a plan for peace. “We have the alternative to any plan prepared by other countries,” he said adding that the next administration must be decided by elections.
He stated that to achieve peace, difficult decisions and sacrifices need to be made. “We have proven to all that we are ready to shorten our legal term and hold an early election,” he said.
President Ghani called on the Taliban to take part in a Loya Jirga and share their problems with the people and make a commitment to denounce war and to solve the problems through talks.
He also said decisions made that bring suffering to the nation need to be prevented.