Speaking at a meeting with the chairman and members of Afghanistan's National Ulema Council on Friday, President Ashraf Ghani highlighted the need for clerics to come out in support of government in the interests of peace. He said government hopes the Ulema Council will remain united with the government in finding permanent solutions to national issues.
"I am proud that the Ulema Council assessed the current situation of the country and identified ways for resolving national issues," Ghani said after clerics on Thursday denounced the recent deadly Kabul attacks, slamming them as un-Islamic.
President Ghani meanwhile, touched on the matter of the insurgents call for Jihad (holly war) and said that the declaration of Jihad by the armed insurgents does not have a moral, religious or ethical justification. He said such a move not only represents the misinterpretation of Islamic teachings, but can also be construed as an act of treason against Islam.
In line with this, Ghani called on the clerics to raise their voice against what he called was the misinterpretation of the Islamic principles by the insurgent groups.
Referring to the sacrifices made by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the battlefields, Ghani noted his appreciation in terms of the support troops get from religious scholars.
"The role of religious scholars in the country in supporting the ANSF is imperative," he said.
In addition Ghani touched on the peace process with the Taliban and vowed to undertake all necessary arrangements for brokering purposeful talks with the opponents.
"We do not have an alternative except restoring peace in the country. But we can not handover the authority to the others, the peace process must be an inter-Afghan dialogue. The peace efforts of religious scholars for peace and mobilizing the people for this purpose is quite essential. Therefore Ulema must use the mosque platform and raise their voices for peace," Ghani added.
He stressed that the religious scholars hold on to their advantage of being a bridge between government and the people. He said that there is a need for a national consensus to discuss the issues facing the nation and to find solutions.
At the meeting, Maulavi Ghulam Rabbani Rahmani read out the declaration of the Afghanistan Ulema Council in which the council strongly condemned the recent deadly attacks in Kabul and other regions in the country – which killed over 50 people and injured hundreds of civilians, including women and children.
The Ulema Council described the acts as acts of terrorism against the Islamic values and humanitarian rights of the people and called on the relevant Afghan security and judicial institutions to identify the perpetrators responsible for these attacks and to bring them to justice.
"All Islamic rituals and rites are fully operating in Afghanistan and the courts issue their verdicts on the basis of the Islamic teachings. 99.9 percent of the people of Afghanistan constitute Muslims. Thus, declaring Jihad against such a nation is completely in contradiction to the Islamic law and Sharia and it is an act of oppression against the Muslim nation," part of the declaration says.
The Ulema Council also referred to the recent announcement of Mullah Mansour as the new Taliban leader and to the statement that under his rule they are committed to waging war on Afghanistan. They reiterated that this was against Islam and a prohibited act.
In accordance with the declaration, the Council has called upon the armed opponents to prevent further atrocities against the people of Afghanistan and to bring an end to the killings of innocent civilians. They also called on them to enter the peace process.
"The recent developments indicate that the war in Afghanistan has moved forward on the command of the foreigners and it was fought while there was not even a leader behind [them]," the declaration stated.
The Council called on tribal elders, Mujahideen and other social segments to come forward and contribute to efforts in reaching sustainable peace and security in the war-ravaged country.
The Council also called on the people of Afghanistan to continue to support the ANSF and to remain united against conspiracies.