Ghani’s peace plan not meant to counter US plan: Omar

KABUL (Tolo News): The Presidential Palace said that President Ashraf Ghani’s peace plan was not meant to counter the US plan; instead, it provides a roadmap for peace in Afghanistan.

Wahid Omar, a senior adviser to the Afghan leader, said that the Afghan people will not accept a peace in which a few political elites come together and share the government, adding that such an approach will fuel more instability in the country. “The president’s roadmap for peace is not a retaliation or an approval of others’ plan, it provides a roadmap for peace,” said Omar.

Based on Ghani’s plan, Afghanistan will hold elections within six months’ time for a peaceful transition of power. “It does not look practical because the opponent’s side does not accept it, for various reasons,” said Abdul Sattar Saadat, the former head of the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission.

This comes as a UN-led conference is expected to be held on Afghanistan in Turkey in the next few days. Many have stated that the Istanbul conference will be patterned after the Bonn conference; however, a member of the peace negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the talks with the Taliban has said that the upcoming meeting in Turkey will not be similar to the Bonn conference.

“This is an ideal plan, it is good, but we have to remember that for reaching to a deal, we are not going to talk among ourselves, we are going to talk with the opponent side,” said Abdul Hafiz Mansour, a republic team negotiator. Some sources have said that President Ghani is expected to put his plan on the table at the upcoming meeting in Turkey.

“We will participate in the conference, but the agenda, the timeline and details are still not forthcoming. It has not been decided at the government who will participate in the conference,” said Omar. “The realities of the time are quite different from the Bonn conference. At that time, women’s voices were not heard. Today, the women have a significant presence in the country’s social fabric and economy. Today, Afghanistan has active institutions and they need to be strengthened,” said Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, the republic’s chief negotiator.

The Taliban told TOLOnews that it was not yet clear who would represent the group at the Turkish summit. Previously, sources within the Presidential Palace said that if Taliban’s leader Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada attended the Turkey conference, the President would do the same.