AT News Report
KABUL: A former aide to the erstwhile president has said that settling the conflict and restoring peace must come before holding elections in bid to stop the unstoppable bloodshed.
Shahzada Masoud said this in an interview with Afghanistan Times on Sunday, where he put peace process on top because presidential polls invite wars for at least five years more.
Everyday there is casualty from both Afghan security forces and the Taliban fighters plus civilians, he said. “This war has to be ended and sought for accelerating of peace process to end the bloodshed.”
“We are not opposing the election; it is one of important pillars of democracy, but currently there is intense fighting going on across the country, it means more war at least for upcoming five years if we go for elections,” he said.
Presidential elections should be held when there is peace after reconciliation made with the Taliban group, he believes.
This comes as Taliban time and again rejected to set in talks with Afghan government, thus making the peace process complicated. In February, Afghan delegation led by former President Hamid Karzai and Taliban representatives begun two days of talks in Moscow billed as part of an intra-Afghan peace process.
The next intra-Afghan talks were about to be convened in mid-April in Qatar, but it has been revoked after disagreement over who to attend the conference.
Kabul administration assigned 250-member delegates to carry out talks with Taliban, but the group did not accept it. Taliban mocked the fat Kabul delegates, saying it is an official meeting in one of gulf country not a wedding party in one of Kabul hotels.
US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation ZalmayKhalilzad just wrapped up sixth round of talks with Taliban, informing of steady but slow progress on aspects of the framework for ending the Afghan war. However, he said the current peace talks isn’t sufficient when so much conflict rages and innocent people die.
He also put peace process that delivers a political settlement is the priority. “Afghans want peace above all else,” he said.
Masoud said once settlement done with Taliban, presidential elections would be more meaningful and fruitful.
He said that peace is a nationwide need, if we have peace and security we can run better election across the country, thus it is essential to peace and reconciliation process be on top agenda and latter election must be focused.
He elaborated that if we reach to peace and stability, then we would have the opportunity to run free, fair and a nationwide presidential election to be away of rigging as well as be acceptable for all nation.
He expressed pleasure over steps in the aspect of peace by US envoy ZalmaiKhalilzad.
He highlighted that if peace won’t come and the election run in such condition like last parliamentary election, then people must tolerate five next years with conflict and insecurity across the country.