Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Taliban – Foul Player in Peace Talks

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Taliban – Foul Player in Peace Talks

The death of 39-year-old Kandahar police chief General Abdul Raziq, which shocked  all Afghan individuals, is a slap on the face of peace talks ushered in between Taliban representatives and US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad if the US is supporting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
With the last month’s peace talks in Qatar, both the US and the Taliban are raising hopes that a meaningful peace and reconciliation process may be underway in Afghanistan. Trump’s administration that was strongly threatening the Taliban to be eradicated, has accepted to talk the pullout of its forces from the country. On the other hand, the Taliban have insisted on their preconditions including the release of their fighters from Afghan prisons, lifting sanctions on their leaders and the establishment of an official political office in Qatar.
All the preconditions from the Taliban side suggest that it is a win-lose game. If the Taliban come to the table with a bona fide intention, they have to stop fighting against the Kabul government and its allies. It is very naïve of the Taliban’s interlocutor to hold peace talks despite the intensified attacks from their side. Only presenting on the table will not necessarily lead to peace and cannot be deemed a breakthrough in the peace process. I have constantly pointed out in my commentaries that the Taliban are foul players and have never respected the national or international rule of the talks.
The Taliban should accept two preconditions to prove their sincerity in the talks: For the one, they are supposed to stop their insurgency. Simultaneous negotiation and fight are ridiculous. Second, the Taliban will have to promise to be disbanded rather than opening an official political office. If the Taliban’s preconditions are accepted by their US interlocutors, there will be no need for a militant group to operate anymore. Thus, their group must be disbanded and their members could live like normal citizens.
On the other hand, if the US is backing the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process, it has to consider any rules and preconditions Kabul government sets up. Stopping insurgency is the first demand of both Afghan state and nation. The second precondition is the Taliban should practice upon the Afghan Constitution rather than their fundamental sharia if the two sides reach census on political settlement.
Refusing Kabul’s proposal for talks and continuing their insurgency against Afghan soldiers and civilians, the Taliban have already ushered in a foul game and the peace talks are unlikely to come to fruition. It is believed that even if the US and the Taliban reach a political census, the Taliban will not stop fighting against Kabul government. What if the Taliban intensify their attacks following the full withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan?
It should be noted that the death of Raziq by his bodyguard suggests that the Taliban have infiltrated Afghan police and Afghanistan’s intelligence is not strong enough. The Taliban carried out deadly attacks against Afghan soldiers several times by the support of their infiltrators. To overcome the security crisis, Afghan government will have to reinforce its intelligence.
All in all, the assassination of General Raziq suggests the lukewarm response and disregard of the Taliban to peace talks. Therefore, there is little room for optimism regarding the ongoing negotiations between the Taliban and Trump’s envoy for talks.
The an-eye-for-an-eye policy of General Raziq was very effective in Kandahar province. The Taliban respect neither Afghanistan’s Constitution nor international law and they are widely involved in violation of humanitarian law. Killing civilians and torturing soldiers are the daily practices of the Taliban. Therefore, Raziq adopted a tit-for-tat action against the Taliban and it bore effective result.
To view the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) in Sari Lanka (1972 – 2009), which was far stronger than the Taliban and assassinated Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa on 1 May 1993 and Foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on 25 October 2005 and many other high-profile officials including ministers and former prime minister of India Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, was defeated in 2009 when Sri Lankan government declared an all-out offensives against LTTE in 2006 following a series of failed negotiations.
Similarly, the self-styled Islamic State (IS) group was dismantled in Iraq and Syria as a result of strong military action. It is believed that if Kabul government and its international allies hold the stance of General Raziq against the Taliban and shoot them on the head, the Taliban group will be doomed to defeat similar to LTTE and IS. Indeed, the Taliban should either accept the rule of the talks and stop fighting or face the consequences. It is not stronger than the LTTE and will be defeated by military action.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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