Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 15th, 2021

Entering Afghanistan with Radical Ideology not Acceptable

The Taliban are not likely to have changed their mindset. Regarding the democratic discourse, mainly human rights and women’s rights and liberties, the Taliban are said to maintain fundamental ideology, which will be irreconcilable with Afghanistan’s current political structure and cultural values.
The Taliban’s radical ideology has concerned the people of Afghanistan, especially women, to a great extent. Afghans are apprehensive about the emirate system, which will be contrary to the public perspective and challenge the democratic discourse and past achievements. Meanwhile, the Taliban’s ideology has created hurdle to the peace process and slowed down agreement over issues of women’s rights and liberties. If the Taliban defined their system clearly, reduced their violence to show moderation in their ideology, and not challenged democratic values and constitutional principles, the negotiating sides would reach an agreement sooner. 
Members of Islamic republic negotiating team believe that the Taliban have not changed their ideology despite reports in the western media that the group’s views were moderated. “The Taliban have the same views they had 25 years ago about women, music, arts, elections, freedom of speech and human rights,” said Hafiz Mansour, a member of the republic negotiating team.
Meanwhile, Ghulam Farooq Majroh, another member of the team, is cited as saying, “When you see the demands of the Taliban, they have been insisting on some major and unnecessary demands; therefore, there is a need for consultation about these issues with the political leaders.”
Fawzia Koofi also believed that Taliban’s definition of women’s rights was the same as that during their regime.
Civil liberties, human rights and freedoms as well as democratic gains and constitutional principles have been the controversial issues at the peace table.
If the Taliban haggle over the aforementioned issues and seek to impose their radical mindset on the people of Afghanistan, reaching an agreement will be highly tough. The Taliban view negotiations as a win-lose strategy instead of a win-win issue and seek dominance at the table. But adopting a win-lose approach to the talks will challenge the process and make agreement harder.
The negotiating sides should reach an agreement based on the public demands and conditions. In other words, if the agreement does not preserve the decades of democratic gains and achievements regarding the civil rights and liberties, it will not be acceptable to the people of Afghanistan, who are determined not to backtrack.
The Taliban’s escalated insurgency and large involvement in civilian casualties indicate that their ideology is contrary to that of ordinary Afghans, who call on the Taliban to stop violence and bloodshed.
If the Taliban practice upon the radical ideology similar to that during their regime, Afghans will not welcome them. That is to say, if the Taliban enter the country with fundamental ideology, the rights and freedoms of the public and democracy will be at stake.
Within the last couple of decades, Afghanistan underwent many cultural and political changes. Afghans are against the Taliban’s emirate and ideological structure, which will be highly discriminatory. In the post-Taliban constitution, discrimination on the grounds of one’s race, caste and color has no room and ethnocentric view will not be acceptable to the public. Therefore, the Taliban are not able to sell their radical mindset at gunpoint. In short, sustainable peace and stability will emerge if the Taliban and their peace interlocutors sign an agreement with consideration to the public consent and cultural demands. On the contrary, lasting peace will not come through threat and insurgency. Strategy of violence and bloodshed will be counterproductive, especially at the time that the Taliban negotiate with the Ghani administration.
The Taliban should note that Afghan men and women have paid heavy sacrifices for the gains achieved within the last two decades and will not compromise them at the table. Streams of blood were shed since Afghanistan has reached to the current stage. Hence, the Taliban have to moderate their mindset and adopt a moderate approach towards the aforementioned facts so that they could reach an agreement with their interlocutors. 
Overall, radical mindset will challenge peace process and prolong reaching an agreement or may even push the talks to deadlock. Peace at the cost of people’s rights and liberties as well as their past sacrifices will not be acceptable to the public. Reaching an agreement will be a win-win strategy and the Taliban should not seek to impose their mindset or adopt a win-lose approach. In the future system, all people, regardless of their ethnicity, gender, and sects should be on board. Marginalizing women or ethnic minorities from social and political participation will never be acceptable.