President Ashraf Ghani, speaking at the Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) in Doha, said that the Afghan people must come first in the peace process and stressed on its inclusivity.
Speaking on Tuesday evening, Ghani said the will of the people was fundamental to the peace process but to solidify it compassion, commitment and courage were needed.
He made it clear that the conflict in Afghanistan is not a civil war.
“Our conflict… if it were a civil war, would be over multiple times. It is a regional war embedded in a global conflict,” he said.
“Our conflict has never been about separation. Our conflict has been a form of competition about controlling the centre,” the president added.
Recalling the days when Afghanistan was peaceful, Ghani said that the last four decades of war have damaged Afghanistan economically, socially and politically.
“Peace in Afghanistan cannot be a peace of the elite. Peace in Afghanistan cannot be the peace of one group. Peace in Afghanistan cannot be the peace of factions. Peace must be the peace of the people because people are sovereign,” Ghani said.
“We must put the people first and do what our constitution, our religion and our morals command us to do,” he added.
He referred to the 2019 Eid ceasefire and said the Taliban must adhere to peace and have the “courage” to call for a ceasefire.
“It shows an immense capacity to overcome the past and move forward towards the future,” Ghani said.
He also highlighted the importance of the Peace Consultative Loya Jirga and said it showed Afghan capacity and consensus on the peace process.
He also spoke about the economic damage caused by the war and said Afghanistan does not have a shortage of resources, rather it suffers from its misuse.
Ghani said the country has untapped geological resources worth “one trillion dollars at least” and the “10 poorest provinces in the country have the richest mineral deposits.” That alone, he said was enough to potentially turn the country extremely rich.
He also highlighted Afghanistan’s location “right in the middle” of Asia which could make it economically prosper and become self-sufficient.
On the issue of Afghan women, he lauded them as “heroes” who were strong and capable.
“The women of Afghanistan do not need someone to speak for them or write for them – they speak for themselves; they can represent themselves” the president said.