Afghan leader says won't compromise social freedoms in peace efforts

"Peace is a national issue, not only government's responsibility," says president.

March 7, 2015 14:33
1 minute read.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

KABUL - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Saturday he would not compromise on the social freedoms introduced since the Taliban's 2001 ouster as his government works towards opening peace talks with the insurgents to end Afghanistan's long war.

"We will not let the price of peace be greater than the price of war," Ghani said in a speech before Parliament after the body's winter recess.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

"We will firmly safeguard the achievements of the past 13 years under former President Karzai," he said.

Ghani did not refer to specific achievements, but these might include more rights for women and greater freedom of speech.

His assurances came two weeks after officials in Pakistan and Afghanistan said the Afghan Taliban had signaled they were willing to open peace talks with Kabul, a push that appeared to be driven by Afghanistan, Pakistan and China, which recently offered to help broker the talks.

The possibility of the Afghan government opening negotiations with the Taliban raised hopes for peace efforts, which failed to get off the ground under Afghanistan's previous government.

But the reports have also been met with some ambivalence, due in part to concerns that not all elements of the Taliban, now a fractured group, may be on board.

Taliban representatives have publicly cast doubt on the possibility of talks.

Ghani has not commented directly on the reports the Taliban are finally ready to open negotiations.

But he said in Saturday's speech that he has started "consultation meetings" within Afghanistan on the peace process, in which he called for religious leaders, politicians, women and youth to be involved.

"Peace is a national issue, not only government's responsibility," Ghani said.

With the departure of most US and other foreign troops at the end of last year, Afghan security forces have been struggling to defeat the insurgency, while the Taliban have been unable to hold much territory.

The number of Afghan security forces fell sharply last year, due in part to desertions and casualties, according to US military data released on Tuesday.

Ghani said on Saturday the notion Afghan security forces were losing morale was a false impression.

Related Content

Hassan Nasrallah
August 19, 2018
Houthi rebels meet with Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah