Afghan govt ready to engage in peace talks: NSA Mohib

Afghan govt ready to engage in peace talks: NSA Mohib

His remarks come amid talks between the Taliban and the US-appointed peace negotiator. A direct dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban is yet to begin. Credit: AFP

The Afghan government is ready to engage in peace talks, but if that call is not answered by those fighting to subvert democracy then they will have to face the full force of the country, Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said on Wednesday.

His remarks come amid talks between the Taliban and the US-appointed peace negotiator. A direct dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban is yet to begin.

Addressing the gathering at the Raisina Dialogue here, Mohib said a ceasefire is necessary to create a conducive environment for talks.

Violence and terrorism have no constituencies in Afghanistan, he asserted.

"Let the progress of our security forces be a call to those fighting to subvert our democracy and undermine our institutions," Mohib said.

"The Afghan people and the government stand ready to engage in peace talks. But if you refuse to answer this call, prepare to face the full force of the Afghan nation," he said.

His remarks come a day after former Afghan President Hamid Karzai hoped for intra-Afghan dialogue between the government and the Taliban.

Describing India as a key partner, the Afghan NSA also said New Delhi has been able to recognize and share his government's vision for a secure, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

"The assistance extended by India to train our officers, provide needed military equipment, educate our youth at quality universities has been essential," he said, adding that bilateral trade has tripled since 2015.

"India has assisted in helping build critical water, health and governance infrastructure. This type of creative assistance in what Afghanistan needs to move forward is not only for our benefit but for the benefit of India and the region," Mohib said.

Afghanistan has learnt a lot as a nation over the past four decades in how much there is to lose from disorder, he said.

"We are determined to create opportunity in the midst of uncertainty. We are now seeing the fruits of labour, particularly in areas of peace, security and regional cooperation. Peace in Afghanistan is long overdue," Mohib said.

As the frontline state on the war on terror, Afghanistan's success is for the global common good, he said.

"Let there be no confusion about one thing, there is also a steely resolve against violence," he asserted.

"Over the past few months, our brave security forces cleared many districts under the enemy, obliterated ISIS. More than 600 ISIS fighters surrendered. Communities are now returning to their former way of life," Mohib said.

Talking about climate change, the Afghan NSA said it is forcing "us in how to protect and maximise our resources". 

In the midst of conflict, Afghanistan continues to think positively and creatively.

"We continue to passionately and practically pursue peace. We continue to strengthen our democracy. We look to this year with hope," he said in his address.

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