Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

Public Optimism for Peaceful life in the New Year


Public Optimism for  Peaceful life in the New Year

Notwithstanding the growing hope for peace and stability, Afghans have suffered severely within the past years as the Taliban guerilla fighters intensified their attacks following the drawdown of U.S.-led NATO troops from the country.
Afghans celebrated democracy through casting their votes in presidential and parliamentary elections hoping to be able to exercise their rights and freedoms in a democratic and violence-free society.
Meanwhile, Afghan government offered olive branch to the Taliban on multiple occasions in a bid to put an end to the protracted war, but the Taliban turned it down. The continuation of war led to public frustration and disappointment as civilians bore the brunt of violence and bloodshed.
Since the Taliban’s leadership realized the fact that their hit-and-run policy would only lead to horrible consequences and increase the number of Afghans’ casualties, it signaled holding talks with the U.S. officials. In the meantime, the Taliban have intensified their attacks against Kabul government refusing to accept its representatives at the negotiating table.
However, as the recent talks between the Taliban and U.S. representatives as well as talks between the Taliban and Afghan political and Jihadi leaders have been debated hotly, a sense of hope has resurfaced in the public air. Remaining optimistic about the talks, Afghans hope that the peace talks will yield a positive outcome soon and they will be able to live in a civil society void of war and violence.
In the new solar year, hope surges up in the air with the ongoing make-or-break peace talks. In other words, Afghans hope that the negotiations will bear the desired result and presidential election will be held, too. Reaching a peace agreement with the Taliban before presidential election is supported by Afghan people. Since Afghans are highly frustrated with the war, striking a peace deal at the cost of establishment of an interim government is believed to be acceptable to them. In some provinces, Afghans gathered to raise their voice in support of peace. Similarly, a number of individuals moved in peace caravan to call on the Taliban and government to sit for negotiations.
It should be noted that peace deal is acceptable to Afghans to the extent that the past achievements should not be compromised at the table. In the meantime, the Taliban should return with open mindset so that they could not target the public rights and freedoms, especially those of women.
Although Afghans expect the government to step up peace talks and conduct presidential election in the new solar year, the challenges and obstacles continue unabated. For example, President Ghani’s political opponents and Jihadi leaders have adopted different approach to peace talks. They will participate in Qatari meeting slated on April 14, which is follow-up to Moscow meeting, but Ghani’s administration is unlikely to send his delegation. With this in mind, the Taliban capitalize on the split and seek to bargain for higher price at the table. They would persist on the establishment of interim government, which is strongly resisted by Ghani’s administration but accepted by his political opponents. Even CEO Abdullah said that if establishment of interim government ensures peace and stability in Afghanistan, it will be acceptable to him. Meanwhile, Mohammad Haneef Atmar, Afghan former NSA and current presidential candidate, said the term of the current government would end on 22 May and demanded formation of interim government.
It came as Hawa Alam Nuristani, the Chairperson of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan said earlier that the presidential elections would be conducted on 28 July.
Leaving bloody years behind, Afghans hope that lack of political consensus between officials will come to an end and national consensus will be created in the upcoming Consultative Loya Jirga. The strong determination of U.S. and Taliban’s representatives for talks have created more room for optimism.
The ball is still in the Taliban’s court whether to continue their bloodshed or stop killing Afghan civilians and soldiers. But it goes without saying that they will neither benefit in their war-war policy nor win the war. Thus, they had better declare a ceasefire and resolve the issue through negotiations.
Afghan officials are recommended to put their differences aside and adopt a single approach towards peace talks. It should be noted that the heavy casualties sustained by Afghan combatants and non-combatants since the establishment of National Unity Government are highly shocking and would mount the level of public dissatisfaction across the country. Pushing for ceasefire is the main responsibility of Afghan government. It is hoped that Afghans will no more fall the victims of terrorism and will live a peaceful life in the new solar year.

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

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