KABUL National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib on Monday said his country urgently needed peace, but not at any cost.
The NSA said the Afghanistan Constitution must be respected, as well as the democratic state and elected government it constitutes.
“The (peace) process must be inclusive and representative of the new Afghanistan, not a deal made between elites. If peace is going to belong to and be maintained by Afghans, it must ultimately be owned by Afghans themselves.”
Mohib told the powerful UN Security Council that the Afghan government and the Afghan people had made commitments to peace and now it was up to the Taliban to prove their commitment.
“They (the rebels) have so far failed to seize opportunities for peace. Yet we stand ready to engage in direct talks. If the Taliban genuinely want peace, they should demonstrate it through positive deeds, not by continued attacks against innocent people and our security forces.”
He said the Afghan people have, time and again, gone to the polls to reinforce and strengthen their belief in democracy.
“As we pursue peace, we also simultaneously maintain military operations and are implementing reforms to strengthen our National Defense and Security Forces.”
He said the Afghan security forces had not only held ground, but they solidified control of territories and weakened pockets of enemy contingents, including Daesh elements in the eastern and northern parts of the country.
He asked the UNSC to remember that peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan would not mean an end to the threat of global terrorism.
“Only a zero tolerance approach, based on genuine and sincere cooperation by all states, is key to success. Any failure in this regard translates to a failure of the Security Council’s response to combating terrorist and extremist groups effectively, and also renders these groups capable of continuing their destructive activities.”
He said Afghanistan would continue to pursue a sequential, thoughtful peace process which leads to dialogue between the Afghan government and people, and the Taliban.
“We will continue to pursue military and counter-terrorism objectives, and we remain absolutely committed to holding presidential elections this year,” said Mohib.