Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Peace – A Win-Win Result for All Parties

The US and Taliban have wrapped up their eighth round of talks in Doha, Qatar’s capital, which were cited as “productive” by the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Although the Taliban carried out a deadly suicide attack in Kabul last week amid the peace talks, their leadership urged not to target civilians on Eid Days.
Afghans held out hope that the latest round of talks would lead to ceasefire and reduction of violence in the country, but the conflict still continues.
Afghans seem to be in limbo as talks and presidential elections loom large and it is not clear whether the talks will postpone elections, as rumors suggest, or elections would be held at all costs. The Taliban interlocutors, along with presidential candidates except for President Ghani, are most likely to prefer peace talks to elections. If peace talks reach an agreement, the Taliban will not accept presidential elections to be conducted. On the other hand, Ghani administration insists on holding elections.
The gap between Ghani’s presidential teams and his presidential opponent is felt strongly. That is, Ghani’s political opponents side with Khalilzad through preferring talks to elections. They have constantly stated that they would step down from their nomination if peace talks reach an agreement.
Meanwhile, the Taliban also warned people not to participate in the polls adding that the outcome would be engineered by foreigners not by public votes. They said they would target polling stations.
The public believe that the issue of peace carries much weight. That is, peace will be welcomed by Afghan men and women at the cost of presidential elections. It is more logical to prefer the issue of peace to elections since the main objective of elections is to support peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and provide a platform for Afghan citizens to exercise their rights and freedoms. If elections do not lead to peace, neither the public dream will come true nor the objective of elections come to fruition.
One of the main concerns in the public air is that peace talks are taking place behind closed doors and Afghans have no idea about the content of the talks. Neither of the negotiating sides are willing to share their backdoor exchanges to the public or media. 
Afghans are highly frustrated with the conflict and wait impatiently for ceasefire. Although the talks are being cited “productive” at the end of each round, violence goes on.
Despite the lingering fear of the Taliban’s return with radical mindset, public hope and optimism for the fruition of peace talks have increased. Afghans hold out hope that peace is imminent and the Taliban would stop violence.
An intra-Afghan dialogue is likely to be started soon after an agreement is signed between the Taliban. Spokesman to Taliban’s political office in Doha Suhail Shaheen said that the negotiating sides were reaching their leaders to consult about the details of the topics, which had been discussed in the latest round of talks. Subsequently, the two sides are expected to sign a peace agreement within the next few days which will provide the ground for US troop pullout, intra-Afghan dialogue, and reduction of violence in the country.
Afghan political officials have to bury their differences and adopt a single approach towards peace talks. Since peace is vital to the war-torn country, all high-level officials should put their weight behind the peace process.
The long sought-after intra-Afghan dialogue is a good news to the public and will be more productive. It is hoped that, after direct negotiations, the Taliban and the Kabul government will also reach an agreement soon.
Earlier, Ghani said that only the Afghan government had the authority to negotiate with the Taliban and reach an agreement with the group. “It should be clear to all that only an elected government can bring peace to this country,” Ghani is cited as saying.
It should be noted that an intra-Afghan dialogue will be productive when it is inclusive – a combination of ethnic groups and both genders.
Overall, Afghan nation supports peace process and urges the government to leave no stone unturned for bringing in peace. Peace will be a win-win situation since all parties as well as regional states will be the beneficiaries of a peaceful Afghanistan. Thus, negotiating parties have to show flexibility and do not bargain for much price at the table. They should seek to reach an agreement as soon as possible so that Afghans should no more fall victim to militancy. The last but not the least, Afghan citizens do not accept a peace deal that sacrifices the “republic” for the “Emirate” system.