WASHINGTON – Afghan Ambassador to the U.S. Hamdullah Mohib praised President Obama for the drone strike in Pakistan that killed Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, the leader of the Afghan Taliban.
“Muhammad Mansour was an impediment to peace and we welcome President Obama’s decision and his bold action to eliminate a person who was preventing other Taliban elements in the calls from our government for the peace process. It’s not just about that action – it gives the Afghan people hope that our most important partner, the United States, is serious about peace in Afghanistan,” Mohib said at a World Affairs Council event in Washington.
“It also creates an opportunity for us to be able to build on that and invite those who are leaning toward peace but perhaps were prevented from it,” he added.
Mohib said Muhammad Mansour’s death brings another opportunity for peace to Afghanistan.
“We have extended the hand of peace once again to all those Taliban who might want to take this opportunity now and join the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process,” he said.
Mohib stressed that the Afghan government will not make “compromises” on its constitution.
“That has been very clear right from the beginning that this process is to provide an opportunity for those who may have legitimate grievances towards Afghanistan and if they are willing to drop their guns and come to negotiate that the government will be open to negotiate a peace deal with them – but not at the price of the progress we have made,” he said.
Mohib said he does not believe anyone in Afghanistan has a problem with the existing constitution.
“This is the most Islamic constitution a country can have and we are confident that will not be an issue for at least the progress that women have made,” he said.
He later clarified his comments and explained that the constitution is based on Sharia law; he argued that is compliant with human rights.
“We have Sharia law. Our constitution is based on Sharia. It may be the version of Sharia that is not the strictest of interpretations that perhaps some extremists want in Afghanistan but our constitution is based on Sharia. It has been for the past 15 years,” he said.
Mohib explained that the government does not foresee Sharia law causing any problems during peace negotiations.
“We are already Sharia-compliant and it is already acceptable and implemented by our government and accepted by the population,” he said.