Translation of President Ashraf Ghani’s Remarks at Closing Session Consultative Peace Jirga

Translation of President Ashraf Ghani’s Remarks at Closing Session Consultative Peace Jirga

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Today, you made history. You came, sat, discussed and consulted. The country and the people were in a dilemma; you delineated the path ahead for peace.

This document [showing the Declaration of Consultative Loya Jirga on Peace] is not only a declaration, but represents the decision and resolution of each and every Afghan. Afghans are proud of you. You honored the “republic”.

If any decision in Afghanistan is made with this wisdom, rapidity and comprehensiveness, we would never face any hurdle in our way ahead.

Today you laid the foundation of a notion/ideology for governance and statesmanship in Afghanistan. The lesson we learned is that people of Afghanistan from 34 provinces, from 23 classes of society can gather in a week and build consensus and come to agreement on salient issues. Congratulations! I congratulate this to the nation. This [Jirga] is the symbol of national unity. It symbolizes Islamic fraternity. It is demonstration of equality of every Afghan with another where man and women are in unison and aligned, and pursue one objective, which is establishment of sustainable peace.

We were at crossroads, but today we can make a choice and decide. Our solution is peace that can lead to fraternity, coherence and accord between our men and women. There is no choice, but peace.

I feel proud today that we proved the capability and willing of our nation. What was very interesting, people were complaining for not being a part of Loya Jirga. There couldn’t be a greater trust to Jirga than this. Thank you brothers and sisters.

When we decide summon Loya Jirga, they said it is not possible to hold it in terms of logistic arrangements. Today your government proved it can gather 3400 people in four days and hold such a large gathering. This hall characterizes the dignity of people of Afghanistan and signifies our national unity, our trust to the Constitution, and our confidence to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Republic is a system in which all can participate and have equal opportunities.

In the meantime, we are determined to put an end to the four decades of violence, and particularly that of the past18 years. Combination of the nation and state creates a great force. And if our political stratum stands in unity, nobody can face us.

Today, the Afghan nation renewed its commitment to the Republic. The Jirga Declaration is renewal of allegiance to the supreme principles and values of the Constitution and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. You embodied democracy not in words, but in action. And this is a great example for the world.

The Loya Jirga literally proved its dignity and spirit as a national and historical body. You made a decision within three days that would take hundreds of days to be made. Congratulations!

Nobody knows Taliban better than you, my brothers and sisters. But you once again underscored the need for peace and chose peace. This is an indication of your confidence, where you expect the Taliban to reciprocate and choose peace over war. You did it for the sake of peace. There is not a single person in this hall that wants bloodshed to continue. We are all scarred and wounded of conflict. And since you delivered the message of peace, I hope all obstacles to peace are removed.

There are some codes, values and principles that need to be observed in Jirga. Unfortunately, a young lady trampled those values, and assaults our honorable sister, Belqis Roshan. I strongly condemn it. Person who disregards Loya Jirga will be and must be prosecuted.

Your decisions reflect the decisions of the nation. Every important issue is incorporated in the declaration. I assure you that I will put them in practice.

The Afghan government and nation have frequently shown their gesture of goodwill for the sake of peace. You proved it once again, and removed the last obstacles to peace. In addition you demonstrated your determination. The road to peace is bumpy, but our objective is a straight line that leads to enduring peace.

We have the capacity/capability for peace. Most importantly, we have the courage to say “war is not the solution”, but our objective for peace can be realized by empathy, alignment and mutual tolerance.

I am proud of our Defense and Security forces, as you are. And I am proud that there hasn’t been such a support for the Afghan Defense and Security forces in the last century. This is unprecedented. Furthermore, the Jirga support will further strengthen and invigorate our defense and security forces. Each and every member of the Afghan forces is your son/daughter and is a volunteer.

I pray for the soul of our martyrs, particularly our fallen heroes at the ranks of Defense and Security forces. I will definitely fulfill your request/order on addressing the needs of the families of ANDSF martyrs, with my heart and soul.

On this issue, I receive biweekly reports from both Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior. There have been shortcomings though. For instance, one of our forces had been martyred in battlefield and the relevant ministry was asking his family for his weapon which was taken away by the murderer. Such acts are unacceptable. Those giving their lives for the country are our pride and we owe them.

The courage that our honorable Ulama showed and their clear interpretation from the Islamic jurisprudence and principles is a source of pride. Do not forge that it was the Ulama’s unanimous fatwa – religious order – that paved the way for peace. They didn’t issue a recommended fatwa, but a fatwa in adherence to the Islamic principles, calling for stopping the war and bloodshed. Today I once again ask the honorable Ulama of Afghanistan to reiterate their stance with courage, as they did when they issued the Fatwa, and call on the Taliban to embrace peace. And, God willing, the Taliban will accept your call.

I extend gratitude to our elders and influential figures for their courage and commitment. You are our elders and you feel the pulse of people.

I thank the Afghan women.  You adopted and maintained a dauntless stance. You speak for yourselves and fight for your rights with a veil and in adherence to Islamic principles. Afghan woman neither needs an interpreter, nor needs to express her voice/stance in English or French, but can raise her voice in her pure languages, in Baloochi, Uzbek, Turkmen, Pashto and Dari. Afghan women’s stance emanates from national and Islamic values.

Our nation never surrenders to coercion, but they are touched by mercy and affection. Any time the Taliban agreed to a ceasefire, these people have warmly embraced them. Would anybody imagine it during the first historical ceasefire [between the government and the Taliban] that people would welcome and talk to the Taliban when they came to the cities? That day, it was proved that we are one nation. So I am grateful to our great and resilient nation.

Now the Taliban should choose. Today, Taliban must show that they are not apprehensive of a nationwide ceasefire. They must prove they agree to the call of the Loya Jirga for enforcement of a nationwide ceasefire and for ensuring service delivery across Afghanistan. We are facing the threat of corona; it is a pandemic. We are facing poverty and destitution. Let’s do it collectively. Ceasefire is to the benefit and goodness of the entire Afghanistan and this has been proved.

Or if the Taliban think they will not have an upper hand in negotiations by agreeing to ceasefire, is there any hurdle to resume the war? It requires more courage to bring out peace rather than war.  The greatest holy war – Jihad Akbar – is to make peace. What has been the outcome of war for us? Loss of lives, adversity, suffering and pain.

I have frequently said and I repeat. The Afghan government and the nation accept the Taliban as a reality of the Afghan society. The Loya Jirga’s decision signifies it. Now the onus is on the Taliban whether they accept Afghanistan, its diversity and unity or not. If we are Afghans, we have to accept and embrace each other. What is the advantage of Jirga? Jirgas in Afghanistan have never concluded or issued a decision on bloodshed or its continuation, but always prevented bloodshed and paved the way. [Addressing the participant in the hall] you are all experienced in convening Jirgas and represent your people. Each and every one of you raises Afghanistan’s voice and represents the country.

With regard to peace, I have asked two clarifications from the international community.

First, are there any secret agreements between them and the Taliban?  I asked them to share if there is any agreement between them and the Taliban so that I can share it with the Afghan nation. And their answer is clear; there is no other secret agreement.

Second, is there consensus on a desirable objective that is an independent, free, democratic, united, in peace within and with the world, and an Afghanistan that is capable of preserving and expanding the gains of the last two decades? They all said in unison, yes. And God willing, it will be proved.

We need to move forward with courage, awareness and wisdom. If, God forbids, we face any risk or threat, we will refer back to you and resume our national discussion.

What is the key issue here? The Loya Jirga made history today. Loya Jirga intends to put an end to the four decades of violence and forge a self-reliant future for Afghanistan, enabling Afghans to recover from all the losses and destructions of the last centuries, particularly the last forty years, in collaboration with the region and in alignment with the world.

God has bestowed everything upon us. The only thing we need is peace to develop our capitals in and determine our future.

Now I will come to your suggestions.

Dear compatriots,

Today I will sign the decree that I was not able in my life to sign it, because it was higher than my authorities.  Now with your consensus and moral decision, I will sign decree of releasing these 400 prisoners and they will get released.

Your next demand is releasing of Afghan defense and security officers who are jailed because of duty negligence. First of all, I absolved approximately 12000 prisoner that includes security and defense forces personnel whose sentences were less than five years, because of the covid 19 pandemic. 

On the occasion of 28th (Asad) which is our 101 anniversary of independence, I will act to your demand. In this situation, hugging and supporting our security and defense forces is our national duty. For sure and of course I will accept this demand.

Dear compatriots!

There is no doubt that the situation of complex. Ambiguity does exist and a many hands are trying that Afghans should not have unity and gather together. Different kinds of conspiracies and etc…. Meanwhile, you should not have any doubt that there is a strong national will and strong state power; we are not under threat of disintegration or explosion. We are able to bring this peace process into a successful point and with Allah’s grace the arms of Afghan nation is as big that Taliban can also come into it. But if we imagine that there are no risks or ambiguities, it is mistake. Therefore, it is very essential to do analysis and classification of problems with unity, coordination and sympathy and then take our actions, without making any mistakes. With Allah’s grace, by moving collectively, everything has successful outcomes. 

It is my commitment and you people are my example on this issue that if we take essential decisions in hurry there are 10 percent chances of making mistake, but not taking decision in situations like this, is crime.

I want to make it clear, you people have opened the path, but if we again faced dilemma, we will reach you all again; because you have turned a dilemma into one way.  I am repeating, after this with Allah’s help, our way is straight, but if we faced dilemma, national advisory has shown its power and will reach you. I have trust on all of you and will trust you.

At the end I would like to thank Dr Abdullah, because of your day and night hard works, from administrative commission of Jirga, all colleagues who worked hard day and night. I want you thank you all from depth of heart. Mr. Karzai, I would like to thank you for coming, for your speech and your trust. With Allah’s well, we will go forward.

Respected brothers Mr. Saleh and Danish! thank you for your day and night hard works, especially in recent months and by strong support from peace process. Thank you all respected Chief Justice, Attorney General, Judicial and Justice Sector, National Security office, NDS, Mr Mohib and other colleagues. 

I wanted to tell you all that whatever is possible to do for wellbeing of Afghanistan, do it with consideration of law. They have paid attention to each and every cases, with very careful consideration and law has been implemented.

In the part that our hands were bound by law, we approached Jirga (Council). I want to thank with deep heart from Mr. Rahmani, Mr Muslimyar, all parliament members who are present here. I would like to thank all parliament members for making the voice your people regarding the peace process and necessity of peace to reach all state institutions, especially to me. Thank you for active participation. 

The provincial councils played key role in this Jirgan and also in the previous Jirga (Council); our brothers and sister really worked hard in these three days, thank you all.

All members and representatives of Jirga came together from the 23 cortexes and 34 provinces of Afghanistan and created atmosphere of Intimacy. Thank you all.

These strives and works are unique and it will continue with Allah’s well. From the mayor and people of Kabul, whom have always been host of their compatriots and have always tolerated the troubles so that national decisions should be made, I am really thankful and grateful.

The Operational Unite of President Office is the capacity that has been created and is able to do work in six days, which would not be possible in 6 months without them.

Thank you Mr. Stanikzai, Rahimi and all board members of Peace. Mr. Abdullah! Obviously thank you and all brother who are seated in Stage, from boards of the Jirga, Thank you all. I am grateful to all Security and Defense Forces. I am offering my deep respect to all members of Peace Advisory Jirga.

When I said that I will call the Jirga, our international partners were shocked. I told them that let the Afghan people speak themselves. They will give you such a decision that you may have not even imagined of it.

Today you all have proved that the major and big interests of Afghanistan is more important than any interest for you. You have given priority to national interest of Afghanistan than any other interests.  From the outside country, when others look to us, they think we have many languages, identities, provinces and etc… and they think that we don’t have unity. Today, the Loy Jirga (Big Council) of Afghanistan proved the national unity, national cooperation, national will and national discourse.

I wish you all success. Long live Afghanistan. Long live scholars and Ullama of Afghanistan. Long live all cortexes of Afghanistan and our traditional big council (Loy Jirga).

Good Bye!