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Peace council urges Taliban to accede to peace offer

AT-KABUL: Members of the high peace council and the Ulema Council in a gathering Kandahar called on the Taliban to accede to the government’s peace offer and join the peace talks.

According to the HPC, efforts to promote peace are also now being done on a provincial level, hence the meeting in Kandahar.

After the HPC’s general assembly, members will participate in the Ulema conference.

This is the first time the HPC has held its general assembly out of Kabul.

HPC chairman Mohammad Karim Khalili addressed participants at the conference on Tuesday morning and called the Taliban a movement and said that the foundation of Afghanistan was forged in Kandahar and it is hoped that the process of establishing peace and stability will start from Kandahar province.

“We came here to seek a new era for our country the same as our history that Afghanistan was established from Kandahar. We loudly voice the peace process to start,” Khalili said.

Khalili said foreigners do not want peace in Afghanistan, so there needs to be dialogue between the Afghans to achieve peace.

He also called on the Taliban to join the peace process.

“Today is the time to work together for peace; we hope our Kandahari countrymen stand for peace; calling on Taliban from historic Kandahar to come for peace so history changes,” Khalili said.

Khalili also praised the protestors in Helmand for their move to promote peace.

“We salute the Helmand citizens calling for peace and ceasefire,” Khalili added.

Khalili also emphasized that the leadership of the High Peace Council is ready to make sacrifices for peace. There is no fear of any conspiracies that, according to him, are against the HPC.

Meanwhile, Mawlawi Kashaf, head of the Ulema council, also addressed participants and he too called on the Taliban to join the peace process. He also called on them to come to Kabul and establish a political party.

He pointed out that the Taliban has not yet responded to government’s peace offer.

“Peace is a need and must be established according to Sharia instructions. We must work for peace. We are all Muslims and it is prohibited to kill innocents in Islam,” said Kashaf.

Kashaf also said that the Ulema council supports the peace process in the country.

“Life of our Prophet Mohammad PBUH is a lesson for us towards achieving peace. We should all raise our voices and work for peace in our country. Ulema support the peace process in all parts of Afghanistan,” Kashaf added.

This comes after the HPC recently said it would draw up a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country if the Taliban sign a peace agreement with the Afghan government.

This he said would be a different peace offer than that made by President Ashraf Ghani recently.

The High Peace Council believes that the Taliban should not set preconditions for talks with the Afghan government, a spokesman for the council, Ehsan Taheri said.

Taliban, by issuing two separate statements, asked for direct talks with the US and rejected negotiations with the Afghan government.

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