Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 28th, 2020

The US-Taliban Peace Deal; Hope and Fear in Afghanistan

The US and Taliban could reach a peace deal after 18 months of tough negotiations. Issues like the US troops withdrawal and preventing any threats from Afghanistan by Taliban and other terrorist groups are well versed. Actually it is a controversial. Supporters of the deal view the agreement as far preferable to the status quo—a bloody battlefield stalemate—and a necessary first step toward any deal among Afghans to end the war. On the other hand, critics are concerned that the deal sells out Washington’s Afghan allies, places naive trust in an extremist group, and provides cover for a troop withdrawal that Trump wants regardless of whether it makes diplomatic or military sense.
However, many other issues have been left untouched or the US may have no clear stance on them. These include the fate of Afghan constitution, basic rights of Afghan citizens, freedom of speech, freedom of Media, religious rights and rights of minority groups.
To the extent concerned to us, these issues have been left to Afghans to decide about them. Therefore, the Afghan government, political parties, civil society and all walks of Afghans who care about the mentioned issues and values shall form a united front against the conservative Taliban. As a result, there shall be consensus formed between those who support the current constitution and values of it.
How to Form Consensus
Some political experts hold that, Kabul has lacked consistency and strategic vision in the peace process.  Kabul has taken some strategic initiatives including the ceasefire with the Taliban but the follow up to these initiatives have been erratic. And After announcing the road map in February, Ghani has come up with yet another strategy for peace and reconciliation with the Taliban during the Geneva conference in October, sections of which nullified his February proposal. They consider lack of a comprehensive negotiation team representing the Afghan government, as another testimony of the lack of homework on the part of the presidential palace. As a result, consensus building is the first priority of the government, Afghan political parties and civil society organizations to focus their attention on a unified approach in the negotiations with the Taliban. This initiative enables all parties to try and reconcile their positions, connect the dots, and eliminate the missing links in the Intra-Afghan talks. 
Intra-Afghan talks would be challenging and any peace deal would be totally conditional, for ensuring consensus for peace in the country women’s role in peace talks shall be guaranteed and each members of the Afghan government delegation including the representatives of the political parties and civil society organizations for peace talks should defend the rights of women. As a result, an inclusive negotiating team for peace talks, would be able to ensure the rights of the people and the republic system and they shall share any decisions regarding peace process with the people and Loya Jirga shall be called if needed. What matters is that during the talks governance process shall continue and people shall witness development projects implementation in the future.
The Challenge of Intra-Afghan talks ownership
A successful peace deal requires an Afghan Government led and Afghan Government owned peace talks
The history of peace negotiations shows that Any peace in a country must be negotiated for the citizens by their elected leaders, if not so, the outcome would be losing the democratic Achievements or not agreeing on a democratic system. According to this, Afghan government has repeatedly objected to being part of the negotiations and not being a central part of this discussion. In fact, if we want to see peace in Afghanistan, the Afghan government must be at the forefront of any negotiations. At the same time, the Taliban has repeatedly refused holding direct talks with Afghan government.
The peace agreement that was signed on Saturday 29th February, between the US officials and Taliban representatives after months of negotiations in Qatar’s capital to end the United States’ longest war, fought in Afghanistan since 2001, was the first part of the negotiations. However, the second part, Intra-Afghan talks that is far more challenging will start on 10th March 2020. Afghan government shall establish an inclusive and effective national negotiating team consisting of senior government officials, key political party representatives, civil society and women led by the government to initiate the Intra-Afghan talks. The parties must recognize the basic fact that peace is all about compromise and not triumph. Unless and until all come to terms with this basic understanding and adjust their agendas, it is almost impossible to reach a peaceful settlement. Afghan government negotiation team shall be enough flexible to reach a fair deal with the Taliban and must not compromise the Afghanistan constitution, human rights, citizens’ basic rights, religious, ethnic rights and 18 year democratic achievements of the country.