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Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani Pledges ‘Genuine Reconciliation'

Interview: Afghan Presidential Candidate Ashraf Ghani
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WATCH: Interview with Ashraf Ghani

KABUL -- Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani says that, if elected, he will do all in his power to promote "genuine reconciliation."

In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL on April 17, Ghani indicated that the country's former warlords must accept responsibility for their actions and that the country needed to move on.

“We are not going to get bogged down in our past in a way that deprives us of a future," he said. "[We need] to be coming together, accepting responsibility, moving on, and making sure that if there are victims that we tend to them. It’s a process of healing our wounds.”

Ghani said "violence is not an answer to violence."

Ghani, a former Afghan finance minister, had previously taken a strong stance against the former strongmen, many of whom were involved in the country’s devastating civil war.

The 64-year-old pledged a “government of competence” that would strengthen the rule of law, fight corruption, and introduce an economic system that would lessen the country’s dependence on aid.

"I had no money and I had no backing from a political party, the government, or had foreign support," he said. "This is a genuine social movement that is going to deliver.”

Ghani, among the election front-runners, said he was confident of winning an outright victory in the April 5 vote.

Ghani confirmed he had held meetings with President Hamid Karzai and some of his rival candidates since the election.

But he said it was not to forge a deal that would avoid a second round runoff, which is likely because no candidate is expected to win an outright majority.

He said a second round was necessary to “let the people decide” the country’s next president.

Partial results released on April 13 put Ghani is second position behind leading candidate Abdullah Abdullah.

Preliminary results for the election are expected on April 24.