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

Peace Consultative Jirga: The Ball is in the Taliban Court

Prisoner swap was one of the main obstacles to start the Intra-Afghan talks. Afghan government had already released about five thousand Taliban prisoners to pave the way for the talks. However, Taliban insisted on releasing 400 Taliban prisoners. These prisoners included those Taliban who had leaded the suicide bombings, target killings of public places and innocent people. Many of these prisoners had been involved in narcotics and other crimes including kidnapping the international community citizens. As a result, it was very difficult for the Afghan government to release them.  Because 156 of them were sentenced to death, 105 of them were accused of murder, 34 of them were accused of kidnaping that led to murder, 51 of them were accused of drug smuggling, 44 of them were on the blacklist of the Afghan government and its allies, 6 of them were accused of other crimes, 4 of them have unspecified crimes.
On the other hand, Afghan people are fed up with the war and also the international community insisted on releasing these prisoners to leave no excuse for the Taliban to delay the talks. It was a total dilemma for the government. As a result, President Ashraf Ghani called for a national Peace Consultative Loya Jirga on August 7 in Kabul to find a solution based on consulting the representatives of the Afghan people. As the Loya Jirga or mass gathering of representatives from various ethnic, religious and tribal communities, is the symbol of the representation of all Afghans, can form consensus among all walks of Afghans and their decision represent the decision of the people. The Peace Consultative Jirga that lasted for 3 days, the participants primarily discussed the fate of 400 Taliban prisoners who the Afghan President does not have the authority to release and finally agreed with release conditioned to a dramatic reduction in violence and later agreeing with a ceasefire by the Taliban.
What Afghans expect from the International Community and Afghan Neighboring countries
It is difficult for Afghans to trust the Taliban. On the other hand, they are a dependent group; they are both ideologically and financially dependent on Pakistan and some other countries. The United States, European Council, China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India, Turkey, UEA and Afghan Central Asian neighbors can play a significant role in helping Afghanistan to reach to a viable peace deal. The first step is to strongly prevent the neighboring countries including Pakistan to not support Taliban to continue the war in the country. The international community shall not make the same mistakes they did in 1919s.
The Consultative Peace Jirga Resolution as the Road Map of Peace
One of the key issues in terms of the resolution of the Consultative Peace Jirga is implementing it. Fortunately, Afghan government has voiced strong commitment to do so. The government considers the resolution as a major part of the peace policy and program of the Afghan government in the peace process. The 25-article resolution, mainly focusing on releasing 400 Taliban prisoners, starting the Intra Afghan peace talks, establishment of a ceasefire to build trust between the two sides, preservation of the Afghan constitution, amending the constitution, if needed, based on the mechanism identified in the constitution, preservation of all Afghan’s rights including women’s rights, releasing ANSDF personnel who have been charged with minor crimes and violations of law.
Conducting successfully the Peace Consultative Jirga, was a big achievement for Afghanistan government. This Grand Jirga could unify Afghans and form consensus among them on the Peace Process. International community and the Afghan neighboring countries can play a vital role to make a success the Afghan Intra-Peace talks. Afghan neighboring countries shall strongly be prohibited to not encourage and support Taliban to continue the war in the county. The resolution of the Peace Consultative Jirga is considered as the road map to the Afghan peace process and all parties shall abide by the provisions of it in order to reach a sustainable peace deal in the country.