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Peace is our Priority, but we are Ready for any Scenario: NSA Mohib

Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib says that achieving peace through negotiation is the priority of the Afghan government and all efforts are focused on it, but in the event of a possible failure of peace negotiations, the government is prepared for any scenario.

Mr Mohib emphasized that whether foreigners would be in Afghanistan or not, the government will persist and the Taliban have to make peace. Taliban do not believe in peace, so, they do not accept truce and continue the fighting.
“Negotiations do not have to end very quickly, but the war must stop and a ceasefire should be reached. Taliban have no legitimacy for killing the people. Today, there is a legitimate government in Afghanistan; a system that can guarantee the Taliban that they can continue negotiations in a ceasefire,” said Mohib, speaking to “Kabul Debate” program on Saturday night.

On the authority of the government’s peace negotiating team, he said: “the negotiating team has authority. They must refer to Kabul for any final decision. No negotiating team has the ultimate authority, they must refer to the high council for national reconciliation, they must refer to the president”.
Speaking about the Taliban demand for considering US-Taliban deal as the basis of Intra-Afghan talks, Mr Mohib said that it is “unacceptable”.
“It is by no means acceptable that the basis of the negotiations should be an agreement between the United States and the Taliban. These talks are inter-Afghan and the Afghans themselves must resolve their differences. Foreigners are not being attacked at the moment, but Afghans are being killed every day. Why should we put an agreement as the basis of our negotiations that has nothing to do with us?” he underlined.

Pakistan’s control on Taliban:
Hamdullah Mohib also touched on Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban and its influence on the peace process.
“Pakistan’s role is greater than what Islamabad says. Pakistan has both influence and control over the Taliban,” he said. Adding that “you know the Afghan people’s public opinion and information, it has been proven that a number of Taliban went to Doha for negotiations from Pakistan. That is why Pakistan has so much influence over the Taliban and we think Pakistan has more control than what it says”.
“The words of the Pakistanis have been good so far, but we have not seen anything in practice. The Taliban are still present in Pakistan and they are being helped. The Pakistanis have not met our expectations so far,”

Durand line:
During the televised interview, Hamdullah Mohib mentioned the issue of Durand line and Afghanistan’s territorial claim to Pakistan as well.
“We have a claim, but it is not yet the right time to raise it,” he added, saying that the Durand issue belongs to the Afghan people and the government cannot act in this regard.

NSA continued that the government’s priority is peace, but it has preparations for any scenario.
“There are many scenarios: it would be good if we could make peace with the Taliban, but we have military preparations, too, whether alone or with international cooperation. Here is a war on terror and we have international commitments. There is a scenario of what we will do if all foreign forces leave; a scenario of foreign forces withdrawal and the continuation of their assistance; and we have a scenario if they do not continue with their assistance,” he added.

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