NCA Chairman, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Meets United States Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the National Coalition of Afghanistan (NCA) and Mr. Mohammad Younus Qanouni, met with United States Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador James F. Dobbins. U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Mr. James B. Cunningham also attended the meeting.
They discussed the current situation in Afghanistan, upcoming Afghan presidential elections scheduled for April 5, 2014, transfer of security responsibilities from NATO to Afghan National Security Forces and peace and reconciliation efforts.
Mr. Mohammad Younus Qanouni, senior member of the NCA Leadership Council, highlighted the combined efforts of the international community and Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism, maintenance of stability in the country, reconstruction and development efforts, as well as building of legitimate national institutions in Afghanistan. Mr. Qanouni indicated there is no doubt that Afghanistan, in partnership with its international partners, had witnessed much progress in its development efforts during the past twelve years. However, the achievements were fragile and can be reversed. These achievements can be sustained and further strengthened with the conduction of credible and transparent Presidential elections and a peaceful political transition.
Mr. Qanouni mentioned that the upcoming presidential elections were critical to the country’s future stability and that Afghanistan and the international community needed to work closely together to help provide security for the elections, paving the way for a free, fair and transparent electoral process. He also noted that the peace and reconciliation process and the U.S.-Afghan bilateral security agreement should not be linked with the up-coming presidential elections.
On his part, NCA Chairman Dr. Abdullah also predicted that stability in Afghanistan was linked to credible presidential elections and a peaceful transfer of political authority next year. He emphasized that without free and transparent elections, a successful transfer of security responsibilities from NATO to Afghan National Security Forces and prospect of a brighter future for Afghanistan, would not be possible. Dr. Abdullah highlighted the importance of the continuing support and cooperation of Afghanistan’s international partners for the Afghan people. Alluding to the U.S.-Afghan bilateral security agreement, he noted that any such agreement should benefit Afghanistan’s national interest, and help to meet Afghanistan’s urgent needs. He also asserted that no individual should be allowed to take advantage of or manipulate the joint agreement.
On peace talks with the armed opposition, Dr. Abdullah said that negotiations with armed groups were necessary. He further stressed, that while the majority of Afghanistan’s population was in favor of peace and reconciliation, they strongly opposed the return of “Taliban ideology.” He stated, “We want peace in Afghanistan; but it must be a just peace that protects the democratic values and principles which the Afghan people demand.” He criticized the way in which the Afghan Government was managing the peace process, and noted that the process had not had any positive outcome so far.
U.S. Special Representative Ambassador James F. Dobbins stated that the United States of America considers Afghanistan’s presidential elections in 2014 to be of great importance for Afghanistan’s future, and that helping to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in Afghanistan through a free, fair and democratic electoral process was a top priority for the United States. He particularly stressed his Government’s commitment to assisting the electoral process with technical assistance, as well as to helping to provide security for the presidential polls.
On the issue of peace talks with the Taliban, Special Representative Dobbins noted that dialogue with the armed groups were a necessity. He said that his Government supported an Afghan led peace and reconciliation process, and that only the Afghan people had the right to discuss and determine their political destiny.
The meeting was also attended by a number of other political leaders.
July 31, 2013 – Kabul, Afghanistan