Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Afghan Would Restart a Warmer Friendship with US if They Really End the War

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Afghan Would Restart a Warmer Friendship  with US if They Really End the War

After 17 years war and destruction, the warring sides seems willing to start meaningful negotiations. Following the Qatar peace talks, Officials from the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) says the United States has probably reached on an agreement to set a timetable for withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. According to HPC, the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the release of Taliban prisoners, and removal of some Taliban figures from the UN blacklist are the key conditions of the armed group for entering into peace talks with the Afghan government. Haji Din Mohammad, the Deputy Head of HPC said that they met with the Taliban delegation on the sidelines of the recent Moscow summit and that the Taliban has shown the intent to end the ongoing war.
With creation of new hopes, the former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed the United States’ approach towards the Afghan peace process, saying it is most likely to produce a result for the stability of Afghanistan and the region. Speaking in an interview with foreign media, Karzai said that due to the wrong policies of the United States in the last 17 years, the level of insurgency with the presence of Daesh militant group has raised in Afghanistan. He stressed that the U.S. has attacked Afghan houses, put the people in prisons as well as ignored the sanctuaries beyond the borders and that the issue has overshadowed the cooperation of regional powers including Russia, China, and India with the United States in his war-weary country. However, Karzai welcomed the U.S.’s recent move to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan by appointing Zalmay Khalilzad as Washington’s envoy for Afghan peace.
Karzai said that in case of the continuation of Afghanistan war and Washington’s rivalries with major powers in the region, “the presence of the United States in Afghanistan will not be tenable.” The former Afghan president, meanwhile said that he sees the recent Moscow meeting on Afghanistan – where the Taliban and Afghan High Peace Council delegations met and discussed peace process – as a positive step. “A first step that will definitely give us results and we hope that it will continue to keep convening and keep looking for a solution eventually that suits all of us,” Karzai said. 
Regarding U.S.-Taliban peace talks in Qatar, Karzai stressed that the talks should be in form of an intra-Afghan dialogue. “The direct talks between the U.S. and the Taliban is a reality now, and Taliban are a reality in Afghanistan too. That reality should be taken into consideration. The talks should be an inter-dialogue between Afghans and Taliban, and it should reflect the will of Afghan people from across the country,” he said. Karzai emphasized that the talks should have also the support of major regional powers like China, Russia, and India as it will give a “real power” to the Afghan peace process.” The role of neighboring countries on these talks will be of great importance,” he said.
Finally, he said, “I wholeheartedly welcomed as the right thing in Afghanistan and an approach that will hopefully and most likely produce a result for Afghanistan and for the region towards peace and stability.” Regarding the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan he said”: If they bring peace to Afghanistan. If they become partners in peace and security and development for Afghanistan, the Afghan people would like to keep them in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, Karen Decker, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul says the step that the Afghan government has to take is to formulate an authoritative negotiating team for peace talks with the Taliban. As quoted from Karen Decker said that the U.S. has sent a strong signal for reaching a political settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government by appointing Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad as special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. “…so the next step the one that the Afghan government is taking now is to formulate an authoritative negotiating team that is ready for political talks with an authoritative negotiating team from the Taliban,” she said.
Earlier Zalmay Khalilzad also called both Afghan government and Taliban to establish an advisory team to work on peace talks. From the government side, President Ashraf Ghani has already started meetings with political parties’ leadership and other social groups to discuss issues around the advisory board that will advise the government and HPC on peace process including the composition of a representative negotiating team. Thus, Ghani met a youth representative group on Saturday; he said the Afghan youth needs to play a significant role in the peace process as any achievements and adding that new generation represents the new Afghanistan and the ones that are willing to forget the past and look towards the future
The president has reiterated in the meetings that any peace agreement must be ratified nationally before taking effect while the meetings would be continued for several coming days. He also made it clear to the government that this board should be fully inclusive and represent all people of Afghanistan. By and large, the new approaches of US and the saying of president is hopeful, and if these really come true it is more likely that Afghan people would wholeheartedly restart a warmer and more meaningful friendship with the US and other stakeholders. Afghans extremely wish to change it from land of hostility and confrontation to the land of friendship and contribution.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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