Peace to be given priority

KABUL (Agencies): A presidential election candidate, Sayed Noorullah Jalili said Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah should put aside the election and instead focus on peace.

Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced the final results of election on February 18 and declared President Ashraf Ghani as the winner by securing 50.64% of the vote.

But Abdullah, who came second with 39.52%, contested the result, declared victory, and vowed to form his own parallel government. Jalili was one of the 14 candidates for the election who secured 0.85 percent of total votes.

Talking to a press conference here, he said, ‘We agree that election had problems but it did not lose its legitimacy, we congratulated President Ghani, but we voice on Ghani and Abdullah to end the election crisis.’

He called the peace agreement between the US and Taliban a good opportunity for peace and said that election teams and all the Afghan people should stand together for the victory of peace in the country.

Peace should be a priority and if there is need, Ghani can be declared as president and Abdullah as Chief Executive, he said.

This comes as the US and Taliban signed a peace deal on February 29. A week before the deal, all warring sides agreed on a weeklong reduction in violence, but the Taliban continued their attacks on Afghan forces after the period ended.

About Taliban attacks’ resumption, Jalili said, ‘Taliban never break their promises, we do not know why they started again their attacks on those who they gave a general forgiveness, we voice on the Taliban to stop their attacks because it would damage them.’

He asked the government to show flexibility about the peace process and announce a unilateral ceasefire.

The language of war should be changed to peace so it would create trust between the government and the Taliban, he said.

He welcomed general forgiveness announced by Taliban and said’I ask President Ghani to do the same and announce his forgiveness to the Taliban, both sides should also release prisoners not because foreigners suggest it, but for good gesture of both sides to peace.’

Jalili said that all Afghans should take part in peace negotiations and the process should not be monopolized by anyone.

He said that his team will soon introduce a negotiating group to talk with the Taliban.