President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday officially introduced Mohammad Karim Khalili, a former vice president to ex-president Hamid Karzai, as the new head of the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC).
This comes as peace talks with insurgent groups – mainly the Taliban – face a stalemate.
Talking on the prospects of peace in Afghanistan, Ghani said that peace will not be restored in the country unless a powerful government is put in place in the country.
“If I am right, without a powerful government sustainable peace will not be achieved and our security and defense institutions must be professional and national institutions,” said Ghani.
According to Ghani, peace cannot be achieved behind closed doors, but to achieve peace in the country, there is a need for a national consensus to be established to evaluate the cost and losses of war and the benefits of peace.
“There is a stone in my chest and steel on my mind when one sees the bloodshed in Afghanistan, because the blood which is shed is the blood of Afghans and a Muslim’s blood,” said Ghani.
Meanwhile, newly appointed HPC Chief Khalili said the peace facilitating body so far has failed to make a breakthrough in the process and that the integration of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of Hizb-e-Islami, in the peace process has not reduced the scale of violence in the country.
However, he hailed the peace accord recently signed between the Afghan government and Hekmatyar and said it was a step forward.
According to Khalili, joining the peace process does not mean surrendering, but it is a positive deal.
“The High Peace Council as a platform for peace should pursue the establishment of peace; so far the HPC has not made a breakthrough in this respect due to uncertainties. Although we have still not witnessed the reduction of violence in the country, the peace agreement with Hizb-e-Islami is a good achievement for the Afghan government and people,” said Khalili.
Khalili was sworn in as the new chief after the council ran without a leader for a few months following the sudden death of it former chief Sayed Ahmad Gailai.