Ghani says his goal is to hand power to his elected successor

KABUL (Tolo News): President Ashraf Ghani says his basic goal is to hand power to his elected successor and through the will of the people, quelling recent rumors about the establishment of an interim government in the country as part of peace efforts.

Talking to CNN, President Ghani, who was joined by First Lady Rula Ghani, said the message of the second round of the peace negotiations in Doha “is can we agree on a goal that the international community and the region are agreed with us, namely “a sovereign, democratic, united Afghanistan at peace with itself and the region.” He added that if that goal becomes accepted, “then we can move forward.”

“If the objective of the Taliban is to dominate and give us the peace of the grave, that will have very negative consequences,” Ghani said. “My basic goal is to be able to hand power, through the will of the people, to my elected successor. This is crucial to enable us to both honor the sacrifice of our civilians, our activists, and others,” Ghani said. “One thing needs to be clear; the Afghan society is not willing to go back and we’re not a type of society that the Taliban-type approach of the past can be imposed on us. That was the peace of the graveyard. We want a positive peace where all of us together overcome our past, embrace each other and together rebuild an Afghanistan that can be what I call a roundabout.”

Ghani said that since 2015, US lives lost in Afghanistan “is 98, while we the Afghan people have lost over 40,000 civilians and military… We’re assuming responsibility for our future, so if the US would like to withdraw, all we ask for is a process that is predictable.”

Ghani said the incoming Biden administration has an immense opportunity to work with Afghanistan “to define what US security interests in Afghanistan and the region are, an agreement on the future stability of Afghanistan, guaranteed both by the region and the international community is essential to end forty years of conflict, the process must be truely owned by owned and led by the Afghan government and the Afghan people, and the scale and scope of US presence in Afghanistan need to be defined.”

Meanwhile, First Lady Rula Ghani said in the CNN interview that Afghan women have raised their voices when it comes to defending their rights in the peace process. In response to a question about the Capitol chaos, the first lady said, “we’re finding out that America is not very different from our countries… I still hope that the systems that are existing in the US are protecting the republic.”

This comes after Ata Mohammad Noor, the CEO of Jamiat-e-Islami of Afghanistan, referring to his recent dispute with President Ghani over the dismissal of the ex-minister of health, said that so far, he did not think about an interim government in Afghanistan, but added that “we need to recommend a plan” on an interim government “for the sake of national unity, social and political justice.” Last week, peace negotiator Abdul Hafiz Mansoor, former NDS chief Rahmatullah Nabil and Sayed Ishaq Gailani, a member of the High Council of National Reconciliation, also talked about an interim government as part of peace efforts.