Doha, 12 September 2020
REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF HIGH COUNCIL FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION H.E. DR. ABDULLAH ABDULLAH
at THE OPENING CEREMONY OF AFGHANISTAN PEACE NEGOTIATIONS in DOHA-QATAR
SEPTEMBER 12, 2020
Unofficial English translation
HE Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani the foreign minister of State of Qatar;
HE Mike Pompeo the United States Secretary of State;
Heads and members of the two negotiation teams;
Respected Mullah Brother;
Dear Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
السلام و علیکم و رحمت الله و برکاته!
I am honored to attend the opening ceremony of the beginning of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
I welcome you to this important and historic conference and present you the best regards of HE President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
I pray to God the almighty that he blesses and helps the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Taliban Movement to succeed as the manifestation of the desire of our people.
My heartfelt thanks go to the brotherly state of Qatar for its effort to bring peace. Especially for organizing and hosting today’s event and the opening ceremony of the Afghanistan Peace Negotiations.
I also thank the Taliban Movement for responding positively to the demand of our great people for peace, and showing readiness to negotiate with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
I can tell you with confidence that the history of country will welcome and remember today as the day of ending the war and the suffering of our people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the guidance of the our sacred religion of Islam, and on the bases of the free will and the right demands of our noble nation, we have come to this county to achieve a dignified and lasting peace.
We have come here with the good will and good intention to stop the forty years of bloodshed, and achieve a countrywide and lasting peace.
The legitimate demand of our people, and the aim of peace is to end the war and violence through a political settlement.
Our people want a system based on the constitution, and they ask for strengthening the stability of the country, because they have suffered enough and experienced the worst in the absence of a functioning system.
The current conflict has no winner through war and military means, but there will be no loser if this crisis is resolved through submission to the will of the people.
We both sides; the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban Movement are accountable to God, and have to prevent the destruction and killing in our country.
Now besides the national consensus, we have a strong regional and international support for achieving peace, and we have to make sure to not lose this unique opportunity.
We have to trust the God Almighty, and use this historic opportunity for achieving a durable and lasting peace.
We acknowledge that a dignified and lasting peace will be achieved, when the will of this great nation is represented and we respect each other’s views and perspectives.
We, both sides, have to respect with upmost honesty the free will of our people, and submit to it.
Our nation in the course of history has proven that it owns its free will, and decides with wisdom, and strong faith.
The dignity of peace, and its durability comes from the will of people, and we have to prove that we are committed to this principle.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is commitment to peace religiously, and historically.
We have done a lot to achieve peace; convening the Consultative Loya Jirga, building national and regional consensus, holding national and regional conferences, holding Muslim scholars conferences, and their verdict on ending the war are some of the bold examples of our efforts.
The establishment of the High Council for National Reconciliation and forming the negotiation team are parts of our measures to achieve a lasting peace.
We have raised our voice during Eids, and national events and called for ceasefire, luckily you also accepted our call for ceasefire three times and let the nation to celebrate the Eid in peace and security.
We have also given sacrifices for all these efforts and actions. Professor Burhanudin Rabanin our national and Jihhadi figure was martyred for peace and Pir Sayed Ahmad Gailani another Jihadi figure worked for peace until his last moments of life.
Beside this, we lost some of the High Peace Council and Loya Jirga members. When the US and Taliban agreement was signed, the people became hopeful for a lasting peace, but unfortunately, since then, more than 12000 Afghans are killed and around 15000 are injured. We have released a large number of your prisoners and I also thank you for releasing the government’s prisoners.
Today, we can say with assurance that in each prisoner’s home, there’s happiness and prayers to Allah’s mercy. However, we can extend this happiness to each Afghan’s home with the success of the current negotiations, announcing a permanent ceasefire, and ending the war.
If we bring lasting and dignified peace, protect our country’s independence, freedom, and sovereignty, and consolidate an Islamic and constitutional based inclusive system that preserve the rights of all people including men, women, minorities and victims of war, then both sides will be the peace heroes.
I believe if we give each other honest and brotherly hands, the current suffering of the people will end and a lasting peace will come.
My accompanying delegation and I are in Doha – representing a political system that is supported by millions of men and women from a diversity of cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds in our homeland – to start the process of closing the door to war and suffering for good and opening the door to peace and harmonious coexistence with our compatriots who represent a different set of ideas.
We are here with good intentions to realize durable peace and engage in sincere negotiations and debates in order to reach a comprehensive settlement between the two sides.
We want all of the people of Afghanistan to be reunited under one roof again after more than 42 years of imposed upheavals, aggression, Jihad and resistance. Although narratives may differ, but we all know what happened to us throughout those years and where we stand today. We now need to grasp this unique opportunity to move toward a new future that we can define together, and that all Afghans can own and nurture.
It is befitting that I express our appreciation and gratitude at this historic gathering to the United States of America for paving the way and for their comprehensive efforts to initiate the Afghan peace talks.
The European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Canada and Australia are among our friends and allies who have helped our country and have played important roles to promote peace. We sincerely thank you and appreciate your efforts.
Our neighbors and regional allies, The People’s Republic of China, Russia Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan and Azerbaijan have helped and worked with us to bring peace and prosperity to our country.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I assure you that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan delegation that is in Doha represents all the political groupings, parties, political figures and social strata for the purpose of engaging in talks. The holding of the Peace Loya Jirga and the wide support of our people’s representatives to pursue peace efforts, demonstrate our collective will to support the negotiating team and peace overtures.
We believe that preserving and expanding the Afghan nation’s accomplishments over the past 19 years can help us build a political order that rests on people’s will as the fruit of their struggle, rightful Jihad and resistance in the past four decades.
We are certain that peace between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban Movement will strengthen national unity for the purpose of durable stability and can increase the power and means of the country’s defence and security forces against domestic and external threats.
We firmly believe that a dignified and durable peace can be restored when it can assure independence, freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity and broad political participation that has the support of the Afghan nation.
Durable peace can pave the way for the return of millions of our refugees who have spent many years facing uncertainty back to their ancestral homeland and enable their reintegration into the system.
I vividly remember when the late National Hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud, for his passion for peace, unarmed and with one guard, met with Taliban leaders in Maidan Shahr in 1995, to seek a peaceful political resolution. Alas, we failed to reach a peaceful agreement because of circumstances beyond our control at that time.
Today, let us not lose that opportunity once again and prolong the war. Moving toward a better future needs compromise, prioritizing peace over war, and coming together to discuss moral issues. Other nations have had such experiences throughout history; I am confident that with God’s will and the lessons from the past, we can take steps on the path to peace and reconciliation.
We do not have to agree fully on every issue before us. We can propose alternatives or middle-of-the-road options that could provide the means to agree on fundamental issues.
We need to remind ourselves of defeatist and bad choices that need to be avoided at all cost. Not only the Afghan nation, but also well-meaning friends around the world expect us to put an end to violence, agree to a ceasefire as soon as possible, adopt a comprehensive agenda and talks leading to a settlement acceptable to the Afghan people.
Issues such as the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, democracy, elections, freedom of speech, women’s rights, minority rights, rule of law, civil and human rights are among our people’s great achievements.
We have an obligation to preserve and strengthen our national institutions, including the Afghan defense and security forces that have been rebuilt during the past 19 years.
I am confident that we can talk, listen, argue our positions, debate our viewpoints and at times agree to disagree by respecting each other’s opposite or different viewpoints.
We seek a humanitarian ceasefire to be announced. The ceasefire will allow us to provide humanitarian and developmental assistances to all our people in all regions of Afghanistan.
To safeguard the country’s infrastructure is our common duty. Infrastructural projects do not belong to a particular group as they benefit the whole nation.
We are confident that when war ends, our people can actively take part and benefit from the country’s economic development.
Many changes have occurred in the past few years in our people’s lives. We cannot return to the past.
Our desire to be a regional connecting hub and use of existing opportunities at the regional level is connected to peace. It can play a major role in improving the economic prospects of nations across our region.
Poverty and unemployment have roots in conflict. Peace in Afghanistan can attract investment. We thank the international community for their assistance to Afghanistan. Afghanistan will need your continued engagement and help in the post peace period.
Our wish is to live in peace within, with our neighbors and in cooperation with the international community while we prevent terrorist groups from using our soil. With this wish, we extend our hand for cooperation to all our neighbors.
We believe that by attaining peace, there would be no use for the presence of foreign forces in our country. However, we need to create the right conditions for that together.
Since the cost of war is not limited to Afghanistan and is a threat to our region and beyond, therefore, we urge all concerned countries near and afar to help us attain peace.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Once again, our heartfelt appreciation to brotherly Qatar and all our international friends who have stood by our people over the years. We look forward to your partnerships and contributions as we move forward to turn peace and stability into a sustainable reality.
We firmly believe that this destructive war has no winners. What is clear and predictable though is that a political and peaceful settlement based on our people’s will does not have any losers.
With Almighty God’s help, with successful negotiations, our united nation will rise from the ashes of war with pride and grandeur to stand on its own feet.
To reach this aspiration will need sacrifice and loyalty to our nation’s interests from both sides.
No matter which side of the talks we belong to, we need to act as a united nation.
The reason being that our unity today as a unified country will assure our survival as well as the survival of future generations in a dignified Afghanistan.
Source: Facebook site of Dr Abdullah’s spokesman
This article was last updated on 12 Sep 2020
High Council for National Reconciliation