A group of well-known political figures and religious scholars is working on a plan to “save the country” from the current crisis, which they believe is the outcome of a constant delay in presidential election results and a postponement of the peace talks.
Politicians with “Peace and Rescue Council of Afghanistan” issued a resolution at a gathering in Kabul on Sunday in which they mentioned that the presidential election cannot provide the foundation of a legitimate government.
In their resolution, the politicians said the election is not legitimate anymore and that there is a need for a “unified scheme” to end the current crisis in the country.
An end to the war, responsible withdrawal of the foreign forces from the country, building national unity, maintaining the achievements of the past 19 years, and gaining an assurance of continued support from the US and the international community after a peace deal with the Taliban are among the main parts of the resolution.
Members of the council who are close to former president Hamid Karzai said they are holding discussions on the peace talks as a key to overcome the country’s problems.
“Afghanistan is moving towards a point of no return,” said Gul Rahman Qazi, the head of the council.
“Peace should be taken away from one person’s monopoly,” said Shahzada Massoud, a political affairs analyst.
Some participants at the meeting accused the National Unity Government of failing to ensure security and peace in the country.
“We (Afghanistan) will be left alone and these countries’ policies will change if Afghan leaders do not reach an agreement and if they do not establish a national government or if they do at least make peace among themselves,” presidential candidate Ahmad Wali Massoud said.
“We are looking forward to the High Peace Council’s stance. This institution should not change into a ministry under the current situation. It should not be turned into a state-owned institution,” said Sayed Ishaq Gailani, the leader of the National Solidarity Movement of Afghanistan.
Some former members of the Taliban at the event said the “disagreements” between the US and the Taliban over a ceasefire has delayed the peace negotiations.
“The time has come for the US to get assurances from the Taliban in Doha that the Taliban movement is committed to not using the Afghan soil against others,” former Taliban member Abdul Hakim Mujahid said.
“The problem will not be solved with talks only. There is a need for bringing together all the ethnic groups,” said Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member.
Talking at the event, presidential candidate and Hizb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar suggested an interim government because in his view the electoral process is facing a crisis.
He also suggested that none of the presidential candidates could lead an interim government based on his proposed solution.
“We need an interim government that is impartial, that is not running for elections, and which will not use the government’s power in election campaigns,” Hekmatyar stated.
The resolution added that the end of the war, withdrawal of foreign forces and keeping the achievement of the last two decades is other necessary work to be done.
Discussions Underway at IEC on Results Announcement
Discussions at the Independent Election Commission, or IEC, are underway to prepare the announcement of the election’s preliminary results, following the recount of votes in 27 out of 34 provinces. Details about the announcement will be made this evening, Commissioner Esmatullah Mal confirmed.
The election commission has recounted votes from over 7,000 polling stations in 27 provinces out of a total of 8,300 polling stations in 34 provinces. In seven provinces, supporters of some election campaign teams have prevented the recounting process.
“They (the commissioners) are working on a detailed report,” the head of the IEC secretariat Habib-Ur-Rahman Nang said.
Some former IEC officials said the commission should first address concerns around the electoral process ahead of announcing the results.
“Announcing the results ahead of addressing the complaints of the electoral teams will bring a crisis to Afghanistan,” said the former head of the IEC secretariat, Abdullah Ahmadzai.
“Any response which is based on the regulations should be made public in front of observers and the media so that we can see that the (election) commission is working professionally,” said Mohammad Yusuf Rasheed, head of the Free and Fair Election Commission of Afghanistan.
This follows a protest in Kabul organized by presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah’s campaign team calling for transparency in the vote recount process. The protesters warned the commission to not announce the preliminary results before invalidating the 300,000 disputed votes.