Long-awaited intra-Afghan peace talks finally began in Qatari capital Doha on Saturday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the talks, Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, said: “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.”
He said that the current conflict has no winner through military means.
According to Abdullah, Afghan people want a system based on the Constitution and they ask for strengthening of stability of the country because “they have suffered enough and experienced the worst in the absence of a functioning system.”
Abdullah called for a humanitarian ceasefire to be announced, saying it would allow provision of humanitarian and developmental assistance to people.
He also said that there would be no need for the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan if peace comes. “We need to create the right conditions for that together,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of Taliban’s political office, said that they want that Afghanistan be an independent, united, developed country, and it should have a sort of “Islamic system where all the citizens of the country see themselves in it and live in a brotherly manner.”
He said that the negotiation process may have problems, but the expectation is that it should move forward with a lot of patience.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “You will write the next chapter in Afghan history, we help this chapter as one of reconciliation and progress, not another chronicle of tears and bloodshed.”
“We urge you to make decisions that move away from the violence and the corruption and towards peace, development and prosperity,” Pompeo said.
He called on Afghans to preserve and build upon the advancement, the social, economic and political gains that Afghanistan has achieved in the past 20 years.
Pompeo said that the United States doesn’t seek to impose its system on others. “The choice of your political system is of course yours to make, in the United States, we found that democracy, notably the principle of peaceful resolution and rotation of political power works best.”
He warned that the “choices and conduct will affect both the size and scope of the United States’ future assistance.”