Politicians, former jihadi leaders and dozens of residents from different parts of the country attended a ceremony in Kabul on Saturday to commemorate Martyrs Week and the 16th anniversary of national hero Ahmad Shah Massoud’s assassination.
The gathering was held at the Loya Jirga tent in Kabul.
A number of political figures addressed the guests and most stress the need for unity among all ethnic groups across Afghanistan. The theme of this year’s commemoration was national unity.
President Ashraf Ghani’s message was read by a government official – he also called for people to remain united.
He added that ethnic and linguistic differences should not be fueled during the current situation in the country.
However, politics did enter the ceremony.
Former president Hamid Karzai reacted to the new US strategy on Afghanistan and said Afghanistan should not become a competition ground for foreign countries.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also called for the nation to stand united and sent a message to all militants to join the peace process.
“Come and stand besides your people. No one here would see you as a stranger if you stop standing by strangers,” he said referring to militants.
Former jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf meanwhile said he is concerned about recent moves by some insurgent groups to try to divide ethnic groups in the country.
He called on the people and politicians to stand united and accept each other.
The head of the High Peace Council Mohammad Karim Khalili said people are united but that politicians are fueling differences among them.
He said intellectuals, religious scholars and politicians sometimes are behind differences among the people.
He said a strategy which includes peoples interests should be drawn up in order to forge peace with the Taliban.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Mohaqiq, the second deputy of the chief executive, said the war against insurgents needs a clear strategy.
He added that the ideology which drives terrorist groups to violence must be tackled.
Earlier in the day Abdullah laid a wreath at the Resistance Monument at Massoud Square.