Amrullah Saleh

VP Saleh: We do not accept a dictating peace

The Afghan government will not accept a “dictating peace” under any circumstances, says First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in response to the letter of the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent to President Ghani.

“I do not accept the dictating peace—neither in its internal dimension nor in its external dimension,” Saleh asserted speaking at the 7th death anniversary of Marshal Mohammad Qassim Fahim, a former Afghan vice president.

He went further to describe the US draft peace agreement and Blinken’s letter to President Ghani and Chief of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Adbullah Abdullah, as a “dishonorable” draft plan that would “wind up” the Afghan Constitution and the political system. He said he will not approve and sign it.

Meanwhile, he noted that the government will not allow stepping on the Constitution and cancellation of the people’s right to vote. “We cannot deprive our nation of the right to vote under any circumstance, pretext, and conspiracy.”

Saleh added that if the Taliban accept the principle of election, the Afghan government is ready to start talking to the militant group.

In addition to Saleh, Mohammad Mohaqiq, a senior adviser to the President, also termed Blinken’s letter as a “dictating letter.” He said that peace will not be achieved by dictation. “Peace is not [possible] by command. Peace is a national process which becomes possible through the satisfaction of the [warring] parties,” he noted.

Abdullah, who was speaking at the occasion, expressed a softer attitude toward the US peace agreement and Blinken’s letter. Some realities highlight urgency of peace that is not in our control, Abdullah said.

In the letter sent to President Ghani and Abdullah, Blinken put forth some suggestions to accelerate the Afghan peace process and proposals for the Afghan government to move towards a negotiated settlement and ceasefire. The letter was handed over to Ghani and Abdullah by the US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad during his first peace missioned travel to Kabul under the US Biden Administration.

As stated in the letter, Khalilzad has also presented a draft peace agreement to the Afghan government which includes suggestions for establishing a transitional peace government and a 90-day reduction in violence for the negotiating parties.

Blinken asks President Ghani to “positively consider” the proposal of violence reduction. “I must also make clear to you Mr. President that as our policy process continues in Washington, The United States has not ruled out any option. We are considering the full withdrawal of our forces by May 1st, as we consider other options,” the US Secretary of State writes to Pres. Ghani.

Blinken recommends Ghani to consider the “inclusivity” on the Republic side naming former President Hamid Karzai, Abdullah, and Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf as leaders whom Ghani should work with.

He expresses concern that the Taliban will make “rapid territorial gains” even with continued US financial assistance to Afghan security forces after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. In the letter, he calls on President Ghani to “understands the urgency” of his “tone” regarding the collective work.