Nimroz [Afghanistan], March 24 (ANI): Asserting that Afghanistan will remain "independent", the country's President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said his government is pursuing a clear policy of self-reliance.
During an inaugural ceremony of the Kamal Khan Dam, in the westerner province of Nimroz on Wednesday, President Ghani refuted US' proposed draft plan, claiming Afghanistan will remain independent, Tolo News reported.
"We are not like a willow to shiver from every wind, papers are coming, rumors and plans are coming, but we are staying strong like a tree in its place," said Ghani.
"The people are not ready to return to the past, today we are pursuing a clear policy of self-reliance, Afghanistan in the future shouldn't think of opening the hand to beg," said Ghani.
Meanwhile, sources told TOLOnews that President Ghani, in response to the US-proposed peace plan, said that he seeks a presidential election to be held in September.
A proposed US draft plan for Afghan peace was recently shared with political leaders and outlines a roadmap toward an end to the violence and a structure for a future government.
The guiding principles for Afghanistan's future, the structure of a transitional government, and a political roadmap for a lasting ceasefire are the three significant elements of the draft, as reported by Tolo News.
The draft states that when the term of a proposed transitional government ends, the future leader of Afghanistan will be elected through a popular vote.
According to Tolo News, the top US diplomat Antony Blinken -- in a letter to Ghani -- put forth suggestions to the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process, including convening an UN-facilitated conference with international stakeholders, proposals to facilitate discussion between the two sides to form a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, a meeting in Turkey between both sides to finalize a peace agreement, and a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence.
However, along with these proposals, Blinken made clear that the United States is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the May 1 deadline for full withdrawal.
On Tuesday, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, following the NATO ministerial in Brussels, Tuesday, said that the alliance sees that there is no "easy solution" in Afghanistan, according to Tolo News.
"We all see that there is no easy solution. There is no risk-free path ahead and we need to prepare for all options," Stoltenberg said after the meeting. The NATO chief said that the alliance's foreign ministers emphasized their full support for all efforts to reinvigorate the peace process, as reported by Tolo News.
"Because a negotiated solution is the only way to achieve a sustainable peace, which prevents Afghanistan from again becoming a platform for international terrorism," said Stoltenberg.
The NATO chief called on Afghan sides to take advantage of this opportunity for peace: "All sides must seize this historic opportunity without further delay and all regional and international actors must play their part to support a peaceful and stable Afghanistan," the NATO chief said.
NATO has around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. The majority are from non-US Allies and partners.
Blinken earlier on Tuesday at a press conference in Brussels pledged to "rebuild and revitalize" the NATO military alliance and to share American plans of any possible withdrawal from Afghanistan. Blinken said a review is underway by the US on Afghanistan and that he is in Brussels to share their initial findings with NATO allies. He said conversations with allies over the next two days will cover a "broad agenda," including NATO's ongoing mission in Afghanistan.