Kabul hosted 26 nations and organizations to discuss peace and security cooperation. President Ghani accused Pakistan of waging an undeclared war of aggression on Afghanistan, and gave the Taliban a final warning to negotiate peace. Meanwhile, a mosque in Herat city was bombed.
CGTN’s Catherine James reports.
It is the first of what the Afghan government has dubbed the “Kabul Process”: a multi-national meeting on peace and security in Afghanistan.
The meeting took place in Kabul against the backdrop of the bloodiest week in the city since the U.S.-led intervention in 2001. As the meeting closed, a mosque in another major city Herat was bombed.
President Ashraf Ghani used the platform before an international audience to raise the official death toll for last week’s truck bomb from 90 people killed in the heart of Kabul to 150 killed.
In front of the 26 nations and organizations, Ghani blamed Pakistan – who was present – and its support of insurgent groups.
“We want peace with Pakistan. We want to be able to trust Pakistan, and we want the chance for full cooperation to result in the development of both countries and to decrease the poverty on both sides. The challenge is that we cannot figure out what is it that Pakistan wants,” Ghani said.
All the roads leading to the location of the peace conference were blocked by massive containers preventing any traffic or any thoroughfare. Also other key parts of Kabul were on lockdown for security purposes. Meanwhile, demonstrators are continuing their sit-in protest demanding that key security chiefs in the government are fired.
The protesters have some strong backers, including Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani who boycotted the peace meeting with the same demands.
“We are here to protest for people who were killed on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday… Also we are here to protest for Afghanistan’s stable security because we are witnessing everyday death of our loved ones. Has this become a culture for us that we should witness this?” Abdul Karim, a civil society activist said.
The Taliban did not participate in the peace conference. Ghani warned that their time for peace negotiations is running out, and that they would face the consequences.
The Taliban replied saying the peace conference was futile and that there will be no peace until all foreigners had left Afghanistan.
They denied any hand in the bombing of the Herat mosque, saying it was a ploy of their enemies to make them look bad.