Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

Preventing Historical Mistake in Last Minute

When Zalmay Khalilzad, who has served as U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan during the administration of President George W. Bush, was named as President Trump’s special adviser to Afghanistan to try to bring the Afghan government and the Taliban to reconciliation on September 05, 2018, Most Afghans welcomed it. He was one of the best candidates for this job because Afghan government and people could trust him as a person who may not ignore the Afghan national interests as he’s been very critical of Pakistani policies, in the past and held Pakistan responsible for rising insecurity and revival of Taliban in Afghanistan.
However, when the first round of the talks ended in Qatari Capital Doha, the first signs of the US and Taliban talks, as a controversial talks appeared; the talks were focused on the US troop withdrawal and Taliban must guarantee that Afghanistan is no longer a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States and its allies. Actually, what concerned Afghans were not of the priority of the talks; e.g. the political system of Afghanistan, 18 years achievements of Afghanistan and international community, human rights, women rights, freedom of media, basic rights and rights of minority groups.
During the peace talks, there were no signs of positive changes in the Taliban political and military behavior. What the Afghan and international community expected was to see reduction in violence. However, they only increased attacking government military bases and deliberately targeting the civilians and public spaces. In some cases which the civilian casualties were very high they did not accept the responsibility and blamed ISIS for the attacks. And ISIS accepted the responsibility; because they only want to be on the stage here.
When the 9th round of the talks concluded, few Afghans trusted the closed-door negotiations between the United States and the Taliban. Many Afghans expressed fears that the Trump administration would make too many concessions to the insurgents, giving them free rein to re-impose extreme Islamic rule and sacrificing gains in rights and freedoms under democratic rule. Thus, they were right to some extent, because it was disclosed later that even in draft peace agreement they were mentioned as the Islamic Emirate. As a consequence, everyone was afraid the U.S. would sign a cease-fire but the Taliban would continue their war against the Afghan government and people.
When Donald Trump cancelled a secret meeting with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing in Kabul that  killed 12 people, including an American soldier. And in addition to this, he called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group, nearly all Afghans felt relieved and happy; Afghan officials, analysts and citizens warmly welcomed President Donald Trump’s announcement that he was calling off the troubled US-Taliban peace talks aimed at ending the 18-year conflict. At the same time, Afghan government strongly welcomed Trump’s announcement. According to them it coincided with official worries in Afghanistan that the Taliban were manipulating the peace process. Afghan government reiterated long-standing insistence that only direct bilateral talks between Afghan and Taliban leaders could bring about an enduring and substantive settlement. Afghan government termed this decision of the President Trump as having proper a proper understanding of the situation and believing that the Taliban were not committed to peace.
The nightmare of the US and Talban peace agreement ended with the timely and wise decision of President Trump. Taliban are the main barrier to peace in Afghanistan. Any lasting peace deal requires the Taliban must stop killing Afghans and agree to negotiate directly with the Afghan government. Afghan government has always pursued a meaningful peace process and is the implementer of that process. Without a clear framework for Amendment of the Afghan constitution, preserving the 18 year achievements, protecting human rights, women rights, citizen’s basic rights including religious and rights of minority groups, there will be no sustainable peace in Afghanistan.