Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

We want Peace; But not at any Price

Government of Afghanistan in its road map for peace, suggested general amnesty for Taliban leaders and fighters, ceasefire, recognition of Taliban as political party and an office for it in Kabul, lifting sanctions on Taliban leaders and freeing prisoners of this group. These were proposed by president Ghani in Second Kabul Process conference in Kabul on 27 February 2018. Representatives from different countries and international organizations who had attended the meeting also supported peace plan by Afghan government. President Ghani in the conference said, “Kabul is ready for talks with Taliban without any pre-conditions and we are ready to review the constitution too.” Other demands and complaints of Taliban would also be addressed and this group is expected to give its response and suggestion and stop attacking people in cities and other parts of the country, the President said. In the meantime Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hezb-i-Islami in interview with New York Times suggested granting local autonomy in certain regions of the country for Taliban. He says Afghan army should withdraw from the regions what he calls “secure areas”. Hekmatyar told New York Timesthat he had talked to president Ghani about this and he supported.
Despite tens of thousands of people killed and wounded in Taliban attacks across Afghanistan and economic impacts of Taliban insurgencies for the country, Afghan government has expressed its perfect readiness for negotiation and accepting demands of the opposite side. Perhaps it is a heavy price for peace with Taliban; giving amnesty to thousands of militants who have killed innocent children, women and men; lifting sanctions on Taliban leaders who are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, destruction of the country and blocking the way of progress and development of Afghanistan for more than one and half decade. But is it worth giving these concessions to armed rebels and do they accept? It is not yet clear and the situation seems not promising too and Taliban is yet to respond to the plan. Perhaps what Hekmatyar has said is Taliban’s stance regarding Kabul’s peace plan. Hakmatyar mentioned in the interview that he is in regular contact with Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada, leader of Taliban. Peace is indeed the topmost need of Afghans as they have been sufferingfrom war and insecurity for almost four decades. People want peace and stability; but not at any price; they have their demands and conditions and the chief points may be as followings:
- Presidentand government of Afghanistan should know that if they couldn’tsucceed in war with insurgents in battlefield, they would not be able to win negotiations. Taliban will not accept peace plan if they see loose hands of Afghan soldiers. Winner of a battlefield is winner of talks at table, a strong and forceful military pressure is decisive in succeeding talks. As president Ghani in a ceremony on the National day for Afghan security forces said, “we are resolutely fighting for peace” military pressure on Taliban should not be eased, the peace proposal should not be interpreted as weakness of the government and Taliban should not consider itself winner of the battle.
- Mr. Ghani promised not to deal and compromise on achievements of the past years; democratic values, basic rights of people, human and women’s rights.He should not forget these; as Taliban seems not ready to desist from its radical and violent ideology about state, and type of rule and governance.
- Taliban repeatedly called the current political system of the country Un-Islamic and it is almost clear that they want either to replace or bring fundamental changes in it and both are not acceptable for people.So constitution of the country should be reformed in accordance with wishes and views of people of Afghanistan.
- Peace process is a national project and to succeed it we need political national consensus. There are disagreements among leaders of national unity government and between governments and political parties. President Ghani should not bypass the views of his partners in the NUG and as well political parties. A strong backing for government’s peace plan at national level can reinforce government’s position in fighting and as well talking with opposite militants.
- The most important thing that could guarantee success of the peace road map is to open a direct channel with Taliban leaders and bring them out of control and influence of Pakistan and other supporters. As far as Taliban leaders are in grip of foreign these circles they will not be allowed to have their own agenda for peace and decide themselves. Government of Afghanistan with cooperation of its allies and friend countries like US, EU, Russia, China and Arab countries may do this.Raising political and diplomatic pressure on Pakistan may help bring Taliban to negotiation table. 
- Government leaders holding peace conferences, meetings and making peace road map should not focus on their own publicity, popularity and campaign for themselves; failures of the government are more than its successes; the conferences should not be to cover incomplete tasks of the government. Government in its road map for peace should be serious and resolute; people want a strong and stable government.