Ghani: Taliban Violence Has Increased Substantially

Ghani called on the SCO members to support a sustainable peace process within the framework of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

President Ashraf Ghani addressed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit through a video conference on Tuesday where he highlighted Afghanistan’s peace in the region and said violence has remained high by the Taliban despite their commitments. 

“Unfortunately, not only the promised reduction of violence and comprehensive ceasefire has not been realized, but the violence by the Taliban has increased substantially,” Ghani said. 

Ghani said state-to-state cooperation within a regional and global framework is key to dealing with all terrorist networks attempting to disrupt peace, progress and cooperation.

“As respect for sovereignty is a cardinal principle of SCO, we ask all of you to support a sustainable peace process within the framework of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” he said. 

Ghani said that Afghanistan is faced with “multiple forms of turmoil” but peace remains “most urgent and important priority” for the country.

“As a state and society, we have demonstrated the commitment, compassion and courage to make hard decisions to start direct peace negotiations with the Taliban,” Ghani said, referring to the release of over 5,000 Taliban prisoners. 

President Ghani mentioned Kabul University attack in which over 22 people were killed, calling it inhumane. He said the attack “is a symptom of cult of violence and reliance on drug production and smuggling of our natural capital and cultural heritage as sources of funding that requires a reality check.”

He said Afghanistan is right at the center of the untapped potential that could bring enhanced prosperity and peace to the region.

“By location, history outlook and choice, we are poised to provide a platform for regional and global cooperation, especially by connecting Central, South and West Asia to and from East Asia by land,” he added.

He said the Afghan government “has signed a memorandum of understanding with Fortescue Metals Group to transform Afghanistan into a center of green industry through the production of 20,000 megawatts from hydro and use it to produce zero-emission steel and other products from an estimated $1 trillion mineral resources.”

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