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Soviet withdrawal anniversary commemorated in Kabul

Ghani urges Taliban and other insurgents to shun violence and join peace process

Abdullah asks Taliban to stop using children as soldiers in their war

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: The 27th anniversary of the Soviet troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan was commemorated on Monday at the Presidential Palace in which leaders called on Taliban and other insurgent outfits to shun violence and join the peace and reconciliation process.

Marking the 27th anniversary of the Soviet troops’ drawdown from the country, President Ashaf Ghani called on the Taliban and other insurgent groups to renounce violence and reintegrate into civil society by joining peace and reconciliation process in the country.

“Afghanistan as a nation has already paid a high price for its independence,” he said.

Hinting to the Soviet-Afghan war, Ghani said that World Bank estimates show that Afghanistan recorded a $240 billion loss during the 10-year invasion by the Soviets.

From 1979 to February 1989, the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan, leaving 1.5 million civilians dead and scores others received injuries. It also caused Afghan masses to flee the country and took refuge to the neighboring countries.

A large number of Afghans are still living in Pakistan and Iran as refugees.

“If the nation is united anything is possible,” Ghani said, adding that the nation needs to stand united and rebuild the country.

“All those Afghans who embraced martyrdom through years had one hope, that was hope of peace and this is what exactly Afghan masses want,” he said.

“We are sparing no efforts to achieve this,” he said referring to achieve peace and security in the country.  He added that government is welcoming any groups who renounce violence and join peace process.

Asking all insurgents to shun violence and join peace and reconciliation process, Ghani said that “We believe in Peace”.

At the same time, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abdullah Abdullah while addressing the gathering at the Presidential Palace to mark the 27th anniversary of the Soviet Union drawdown from the country, called on the Taliban to join the peace process. He blamed the insurgent groups for using child soldiers to stand by their side and continue fighting against government.

He added that the National Unity Government was pursuing a zero-tolerance policy on child soldiers and asked insurgent outfits to join peace and reconciliation process. “We won’t tolerate the use of children for military purposes.”

Calling on Taliban to stop using children for their own goals, Abdullah said that children should live their childhood. “Let children live their childhood.”

About the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989, he said the repercussions of the war still continued to linger on. “We are suffering from the aftermath of the Soviet defeat in the form of widespread insecurity.”

Hailing the jihad against the Soviet troops as a great achievement of the entire Afghan nation, he suggested it would be wrong to ascribe that victory to a handful of individuals.

He furthered that after defeat of the Soviet troops in Afghanistan other nations in the region were also inspired to become free and live in a peaceful atmosphere.

“It was a war against Afghans,” Abddullah said referring to the Soviet Union occupation.  He said that today the country is also at war and nation’s sons are on the battlefield against anti-government elements.

“Our national security forces are rendering sacrifices to keep peace and security in the country. We thank them,” he said.

Afghans want peace, he said, adding that those who took arm should realize that Afghans would never accept them. “Our voice can never be silenced.”

Abdullah made clear that all Afghans desired peace with dignity. Afghanistan, being a peace-loving nation, never committed aggression against country in the region.

“This is why we have been trying our best to have better relations with them.”

Former Jihadi leader, Sibghatullah Mujaddedi paid glowing tribute to the martyrs.

Addressing guest at the Presidential Palace, he lambasted Pakistan for interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affair. He said that Pakistan is not only interfering but also aiding the Taliban as well as other militant groups.

 

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