Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 29th, 2020

Afghans Demands from the Peace Negotiations Team

Afghan citizens believe that there are certain principles, basic conditions and demands that the negotiations team shall consider them seriously during the talks. These include:
First, ensuring fair participation of different ethnic groups in the peace talks:
Afghanistan is a country with different ethnic groups. Discrimination and lack of exclusion of certain ethnic groups in decision is one of the main causes of continued conflicts in Afghanistan. As a result, it is necessary to include the real representative of all ethnic and social groups in the negotiations team to represent all Afghans.
Based on this, fair participation of ethnic groups, especially women, youth and influential figures of each ethnic group in the whole peace process shall be ensured; they shall be included in the negotiations team, High reconciliation council, peace consultative council and the technical teams.
Ensuring participation of human rights and civil society activists in the peace process:
Human rights and civil society activists are the new groups that have been formed during the past two decades in Afghanistan that are considered as the main achievements of the country. These young social groups can play a critical role in the peace talks in order to preserve the democratic achievements of Afghanistan. As a result, it is vital to give them a due role in the peace talks.
Meaningful and effective participation of the women in the peace talks:
Meaningful and effective participation:
Women Participation and effective representation in the whole process is one of the preconditions that can ensure women rights in the peace process. Without direct participation of women in the peace process, there are no conditions to guarantee their rights in this process. During the course of history of the country, Afghan women have many times been the victims of decisions that have been made about their future while having no representation in the decision making process. On the other hand, Afghan women have been the main victims of armed conflicts in the country while having no share in the war. As a result, it is necessary that Afghan women to be part of the main process and decision making in order to protect and preserve their rights.
Second, Ceasefire and conditioned release of the Taliban prisoners
No unconditional release of the Taliban prisoners:
Taliban prisoners are convicted to war crimes, terrorism and crimes against national and foreign security. Pardoning and unconditional releasing Taliban prisoners are against the constitution and international law. Thus, it is necessary the cases of Taliban prisoners to be studied carefully and those who have committed human rights crimes and genocide shall not be released unconditionally. 
Ensuring lasting and overall ceasefire:
Ceasefire is not only contributes to trust building between the warring sides, but it also is one of the main preconditions for sustainable peace. Because it is nearly impossible to reach a peace deals while the warring sides are fighting in the battle fields. Therefore, it is necessary Taliban take concrete steps towards accepting a ceasefire and the Afghan government shall insist on the ceasefire as a precondition to starting peace talks.
Protecting the republic system and the constitutional values
Protecting the republic system:
Establishing a democratic system based on the vote of the people and elections is one of the most important achievements of Afghanistan and international community during the past two decades. Establishing such a political system has been one of the historical demands of the Afghanistan citizens. Preserving the republic system shall be the top priority of the peace negotiators.
Protecting the principles and values of the new constitution of Afghanistan: The new constitution of Afghanistan is one of the most democratic constitutions that has ensured the basic rights of the Afghans. In the first chapter of the constitution, republic system, the main principles and concepts of a democratic system and commitments of the government in terms of upholding and observing human rights, have been ensured. As a result the new constitution shall be preserved and if it requires to be amended, it shall be amended according to the amendment mechanism that has been considered in articles 149 and 150.
Intra-Afghan peace talks may soon be initiated. However, Afghans have legitimate concerns that shall be considered in the peace talks; inclusion of the representative of all ethnic groups during in the whole peace process, meaningful participation of women, preserving the principles and values of the Afghanistan new constitution and amending it according to the mechanism identified by the constitution and announcing a comprehensive ceasefire before beginning the peace talks, and conditional pardoning and releasing of Taliban prisoners are the issues that require heed attention by the Afghan government and international community.