Conflicts & War

Taliban reject participation in Afghan election process amid negotiations

Kabul, Mar 24 (efe-epa).- The Taliban on Wednesday rejected taking part in an eventual “premature” electoral process proposed by the Afghan government as an option to boost the stalled intra-Afghan peace negotiations, seeking an end to two decades of war.

“We don’t support and favor the processes which have repeatedly failed in the country. The election and other processes, which the rival side is suggesting, have produced shameful and embarrassing results and put the country in crisis,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told EFE.

Mujahid was referring to a proposal which has been repeatedly mentioned by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani: holding “premature” elections as a solution to facilitate the ongoing peace negotiations in Qatar, which have continued since September without any major progress.

Although Ghani has not provided details about the plan, he said that his administration was ready to hold elections with Taliban participation within six months to transfer power to his successor in a constitutional manner, instead of appointing an interim government.

Ghani’s proposal comes after he received a letter from the United States’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggesting a four-point plan to accelerate the intra-Afghan negotiations.

Blinken elaborated a series of steps to reach a “negotiated settlement and ceasefire” in Afghanistan through high-level diplomatic efforts by Afghan stakeholders, regional powers and the United Nations.

“Rumors are coming, letters are coming, plans are coming but Afghanistan (government) will be standing tall in its place like a tree,” Ghani said on Wednesday, referring to the US proposals.

Ghani is currently about to complete the second year of his five-year term, after he was reelected for the second time in controversial presidential elections in February 2020.

Ghani’s win had been challenged by his rival Abdullah Abdullah, who held a parallel swearing-in ceremony during the dispute.

After negotiations mediate by the US, Abdullah was named the president of the High Council for National Reconciliation, a political body that oversees the peace talks.

“The election process paved the way for two leaders (Ghani and Abdullah) to take parallel oaths on the same day, so we don’t want or favor pushing the country towards such a crisis situation,” Mujahid said.

The Taliban back an Islamic system of government in Afghanistan with “specific rules and regulations,” the spokesperson insisted.

Such an Islamic system is “decided by the Islamic scholars and will be implemented as result of the agreement through Intra-Afghan talks,” said Mujahid, rejecting “foreign and fake processes which make the country face crises.” EFE-EPA


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