Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Delaying Talks Will Trigger Public Disappointment

Afghan negotiators push for bringing in peace through negotiated settlement, but the Taliban have turned their back on the talks. The peace process passed a highly rocky road as the Taliban refused to officially negotiate with the Afghan representatives. After signing peace deal with the US administration, the Taliban leadership began face-to-face talks with the Kabul team.
The peace process has been tough, vulnerable, and fragile, especially when the Taliban continued playing game as they refused to declare ceasefire.
The talks brought about no changes in security situation since the Taliban have continued spilling the blood of Afghan soldiers and civilians. Currently, Afghans believe that the Taliban are not genuine in the talks for delaying the process and not ceasing their acts of violence and bloodshed.
Initially, Afghan negotiators entered the talks with great sense of optimism. They believed that they could persuade the Taliban to declare ceasefire, which is still a top priority for the Kabul negotiating team.
In the second round of talks, the Afghan team has been determined to negotiate ceasefire and reduction in violence.
The Taliban, however, abruptly delayed the talks and sent its delegation to Iran and Russia to show a backlash against Washington’s decision about reviewing the US-Taliban Doha agreement.
After a Taliban delegation visited Iran, Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan Bahador Aminian said, “The Taliban are part of the realities in Afghanistan and should be re-integrated into the current structure of Afghanistan. We are working to get the intra-Afghan negotiations out of the grips of some certain countries and have them back on the right track.
We believe the current situation in the Doha talks cannot serve the interests of the people of Afghanistan.”
He added that the Taliban had asked Tehran “to play a more crucial role” in the Afghan peace process.
“After talks with the Afghan government officials,” Aminian said, “We have concluded that we had better help in returning the Taliban to the negotiation process, help them cease violence, help rescue the Afghan peace negotiations that have been misled by foreign states, and help the Taliban return to Afghan society.”
It is self-explanatory that the Afghan government has constantly called on its neighboring countries, including Iran and Pakistan, to put their weight behind the peace process and engage in it actively and constructively.
In other words, the Afghan state and nation will welcome the constructive role of regional and global stakeholders in the talks and have urged them to put pressure on the Taliban to bring down their expectations and declare ceasefire.
Nonetheless, hosting Taliban delegations should not give them further international creditability and has not to undermine the peace process.
Afghanistan’s neighboring countries have to prove their positive role and genuine intention in the process.
It is believed that if regional and global stakeholders had played their role actively in the peace process, they could persuade the Taliban to declare ceasefire and reduce violence.
That is to say, the negotiations would bear the desired result if global consensus was formed and all stakeholders backed the talks.
However, it is important to note that the main reason behind the Taliban’s objective of sending their delegations to neighboring countries in critical times is to signal that they have the support of the host countries.
In short, the Taliban show their legitimacy and international credibility through the trips made by their delegations to some countries. Hence, if hosting Taliban delegations harms the peace process, no state should invite them.
On the contrary, if regional countries really believe that inviting the Taliban delegations would contribute to the process, it will be appreciated.
Regional and global stakeholders have to be sincere in their support to the talks.
But lack of regional and global support to the process on the one hand, and Taliban’s insincere intention in the dialogue on the other hand, have disappointed not only the Kabul negotiating team but also the ordinary people of Afghanistan.
The recent remarks of the Afghan negotiators are filled with a sense of disappointment and Afghans have lost their trust in the talks to a great extent.
Although some neighboring countries, including Iran and Pakistan, reiterated their support to the peace process, no progress was made in the negotiations and the Taliban continue their acts of violence and bloodshed, which indicates the Taliban’s insincere intention in the talks.
If the Taliban continue their playacting, delay the talks whenever they want, and do not honor their deal with Washington, the Afghan government and its international allies, including the United States, are likely to seek military action.