Afghan leaders including former President Hamid Karzai, former Mujahideen leaders, and former Taliban, in a nine-article statement, called for stopping the election and focusing on peace.
Other figures who attended the meeting were former Vice President Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor, former Minister of Energy and Water Mohammad Ismail Khan, former National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta and former Taliban member Agha Jan Mutasim.
They argued that the election will lead the country towards a deeper political and social crisis and that the US-Taliban negotiations should resume as soon as possible.
Besides the lack of Afghan control over the election, the security situation is not suitable for voting and therefore a large number of people will be prevented from casting their vote, the members of the gathering contended.
Moreover, the statement says the Afghan people do not trust in the electoral management organizations to prevent “widespread manipulation” of the presidential election, scheduled for September 28.
“People are highly concerned about the upcoming election, and we are concerned also,” the statement says.
“There are many realities which show that the election will not reduce the crisis in the country, instead it will double the crisis, fuel division among the people, weaken institutions and affect the trust in democracy and political partnership,” the statement added.
According to the statement, peace efforts must not be suspended; instead, more efforts should be made for peace and security, and to end the bloodshed in the country. “We are sure that all politicians and patriots and peace-loving humans will accept our call,” it added.
The statement makes the following requests for peace:
• The peace process must be transparent, national, Afghanistan-inclusive and led by Afghans.
• Peace will not happen unless independent and direct negotiations begin between an all-inclusive delegation of the Afghan people and the Afghan government with the Taliban.
• The delegation should enter the peace talks from a unified stance.
• We call on the Taliban to begin direct negotiations with the national and all-inclusive delegation of Afghanistan.
• The US-Taliban talks should resume as soon as possible in order to open the way for “official” intra-Afghan negotiations.
• The US-Taliban talks should be transparent, and people should be educated about all issues affecting their fate.
• Peace cannot be sustainable unless Afghans’ sovereignty is ensured all over the country.
• There is a need for regional and international consensus for a sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
• We call on our neighbors, regional countries and big powers to strengthen international consensus on Afghan peace and play the role of a guarantor of peace and stability.