Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, August 14th, 2020

Emirate System Unacceptable to Afghans and Global Stakeholders

Afghan officials and political leaders try to form a negotiating team to start peace talks with the Taliban leadership, which pledged to sit with the Afghan official representatives across the table after signing deal with the United States. The intra-Afghan dialogue was slated to start earlier, but political upheaval, emerged in the wake of Afghan presidential elections, and disagreement between officials and political leaders delayed the talks.
After signing peace agreement with US representatives on late February, the Taliban group resumed its escalated conflict with the Afghan government and said it would establish “Islamic Emirate”. Taliban’s assertion to establish emirate system has generated fear at both the national and international level.
Afghans will not accept the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate”, under which the people of Afghanistan suffered severely and their fundamental rights – their rights to life, liberty, and property – were violated to a great extent. To this end, Afghans will support the peace talks “not at any cost” but only if the Taliban integrate into the system and reconcile their mindset with the current constitution.
The notion Afghans have about the Islamic Emirate is a system where gender discrimination curtails women’s freedoms, violate their rights, and restrict their social, political, cultural, and economic activities. In such a system, the past achievements will be at stake and democratic principles will have no room. That is, achievements regarding human rights, mainly women’s rights, and democratic principles will backtrack if emirate is established. Worst, if the Taliban resume their past practices, be it under emirate or any other system, civil unrest is likely to resurface. 
Meanwhile, Washington and Moscow have also disapproved of the foundation of Islamic Emirate and threatened to discontinue their supports.
It is believed that since US and Russia have leverage on the Taliban or their supporters, the two will be able to prevent from the revival of the Islamic Emirate. They should put their weight behind the intra-Afghan talks and urge regional and global stakeholders to also support the talks. 
So as to not lead the peace process to stalemate, the Taliban have to stop pushing for the establishment of the Islamic Emirate, which is disapproved nationally and internationally.
Meanwhile, many believe that the establishment of the parallel government by Ghani’s political rival Abdullah Abdullah will be also a drawback to the Afghan peace process. To pave the ground for the intra-Afghan dialogue, all political leaders and officials have to support a single stance and leave no stone unturned to move the peace process forward.
Furthermore, the Afghan government and its negotiating team have to support the past achievements and democratic gains, including the constitution, women’s rights, and freedom of expressions, as their red-line and consider the public demands at the bargaining table.
After holding a meeting recently, Afghan heavyweight political figures, including Abdullah Abdullah, are said to establish a reconciliation council to start talks with the Taliban. If this council is formed, the Kabul government has to disband the Ministry of Peace, under which political figures are not willing to operate.
For the formation of an inclusive team, all segments of the society, including women’s representatives, tribal elders, religious scholars, and civil society members, should be on board.
It should be noted that heads of political factions have to prioritize national interest at the negotiating table and do not simply seek to consolidate their political positions within the post-deal government.
The negotiating team, when formed, to talk with the Taliban should be aware of the fact that it will be the representative of Afghan people and have to consider the public demands and interests. That is, Afghans, who have paid heavy sacrifices within the past 18 years and had active participation in social and political arenas through democratic means, are one of the involved parties in the peace process. All sides should attach importance to their demands. 
Overall, Afghans disagree with the establishment of Islamic Emirate, which, according to them, will support the sharia-law and contradict all democratic principles and the Taliban may seek to impose their ideology on the public. If the Taliban persist on establishing the Islamic Emirate, the peace process is likely to reach stalemate, since regional and global stakeholders also oppose the emirate system. So far, domestic tensions between officials and political leaders have been the main reason behind the postponement of intra-Afghan dialogue and all sides have to agree on forming an inclusive team to represent the entire nation and safeguard democratic gains and post-Taliban constitution.