Interim Govt, Ceasefire, Securing Past Gains Main Topics of Turkey Summit: Saleh


KABUL: Afghan Vice President Armullah Saleh on Sunday said that the US had shared the agenda for the Istanbul Summit with Afghan officials, and the main topics being discussed in the conference included interim government, ceasefire, and protection of past gains. 
On Saturday, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with President Ashraf Ghani and chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, in Kabul, and exchanged views on the Turkey conference and peace-related issues.
In a speech to a gathering in the Kohdaman area of Kabul on Sunday, Saleh said that one of the key topics of the agenda was discussions on the protection of achievements, including human rights, made over the last two decades in the country.
On the other hand, Saleh criticized Taliban for what he called no contribution to peace efforts by the insurgent group in the recent Moscow conference on Afghan peace. The Taliban only sent insults to Afghans in the conference, he added.
The VP said that the Taliban were reluctant about elections because “The group knows that they will receive only 5% vote from people.” He said that the release of 5,000 Taliban militants from the country jails was one of the government’s greatest mistakes.
Saleh claimed that 75 percent of those released returned to the battlefields, while 40 to 50 percent of others involved in opium trafficking.
On the Taliban’s agenda to establish the Emirate government system in Afghanistan, Saleh said that neither the Afghan people nor the region’s countries wanted such a regime.
President Ashraf Ghani also spoke to the gathering in a video message in which he said that Afghanistan was able to develop a strategy for the establishment of peace. “We have an alternative to any plans suggested by other countries,” Ghani said while referring to the US peace plan for Afghanistan.
The president said that achieving peace required critical decisions and sacrifices. He stressed that no decisions should be made to worsen the Afghan conflict.