KABUL (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday stressed the Taliban and his government must negotiate, saying “now is the right time for peace.”
Addressing an EU anti-corruption conference in Kabul, the president assured the presidential election would be held as scheduled, thanking the EU for its continued support in diverse fields, including elections.
The presidential polls are scheduled for September 28. Ghani hoped future elections would result into a durable peace and stability in the country.
He said all Afghans longed for peace and they were fully prepared to embrace peace because they were tired of the war and the heavy price they paid.
Ghani said Afghanistan suffered 5.1 million human losses, migration, cultural attacks and billions of dollars in financial losses due to the decades-old war and these problems continued unabated. “Men, women and children are being killed in parts of the country daily.”
The president said peace required a strong commitment and policy. “My policy is peace. This country needs peace and we will bring it without any doubt,” he said.
 “We would not sacrifice this country for our personal desires. We live in reality not imaginations,” he said.
Referring to the peace agreement with Hezb-i-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the three-day ceasefire with the Taliban and the arrangement of Peace Jirga, the president said these were among efforts which manifested the government’s resolve for peace and reconciliation in the country.
He said the peace Jirga asked him to develop regional and international consensus on peace and rehabilitate relationship with Pakistan in order to end unannounced war and he implemented these suggestions as well.
About corruption, the president stressed a strong commitment was needed to eradicate the menace.
EU Ambassador to Afghanistan Perri Mayadin in his speech insisted on continued fight against corruption and said one of the reasons behind the continued war in Afghanistan was administrative corruption.
He said some Afghans joined Taliban ranks due to injustice and existence of corruption.
He reaffirmed EU support to Afghanistan in anti-corruption efforts and said eradication of corruption would positively impact efforts at peace.


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