Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, February 24th, 2020

The Urgency of Having Cohesive Position at Negotiating Table and Battlefield


The Urgency of Having Cohesive Position  at Negotiating Table and Battlefield

During the few last days there were tumultuous meetings between political figures fighting on preparing list of participants at the Doha Conference and also the leadership of peace council. Finally, a lengthy list of 250 delegates finalized to meet the Taliban in Doha this week, including different classes from political parties to independent political figures, jihadi leaders, religious scholars, members of parliament and the high peace council are listed to attend the so-called “intra-Afghan” dialogue with Taliban representatives in the Qatari capital of Doha, but there is no clue what would be agenda and what criteria are to shape the discussion. However, two few days ago, the U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, called on Taliban to agree for a comprehensive truce which the quickest way to reduce violence and casualties.
The 250 delegation readiness welcomed by Taliban spring offensive with 250 Taliban fighters attacked on Kundoz city from different sides wanted to capture many cities and districts. As quoted, Kunduz Police Chief Brig. Gen. Manzoor Stanikzai said that almost “250 Taliban militants, including foreign nationals”, were involved in the attack on Kunduz city but they were faced with “strict resistance” by Afghan forces and their attack was “thwarted”.  The Kunduz city, in the north of Afghanistan, came under Taliban attack hours after the group announced its so-called spring offensive, local officials said Saturday this week.
Over the past several years such lessons repeatedly taught by Taliban but seemingly no one has learnt enough yet. They taught us that peace is not obtained through begging but through strong and united position against terrorists; our main concerns is why the list is not inclusive at least half of Afghan population must have been included from all over the country! Unhappily, the big national issues such as the identification of negotiation red lines, the internal coherence of the participants and mechanisms of talks with extremist groups are not prioritized.  Other concern is that Taliban would likely to reject the meeting, as the militants had agreed with a 150-man delegation only.
From one hand, they show their readiness for peace talks, on the other hand, they destroy schools victimizing dozens of Afghan innocent youths. Using bomb and suicide attacks against their land and people become their logic and intellectuality. It seems that they do not satiate except with bloodshed and terror. Earlier they had described the upcoming Afghan Loya Jirga for Peace as a tool of “the invaders and their stooges” using “for their own malicious objectives”. “The superficial ‘Grand Consultative Jirga will be no different than the Jirgas and resolutions passed by the supposed ‘Loya Jirgas’ during the end years of the communist regime or that of the year 2013 which approved the extension of occupation and auctioning of Afghanistan under the security agreement,” Zabihullah Mujahid wrote a few days ago.
Refusing to peace talks with government, as elected representative of people, shows that they do not believe in peace until now, each time their representatives have participated in the peace talks, the group has intensified its brutal and horrifying attacks that killed thousands of civilians and security forces. Each time their supporters have spoken about the Taliban’s presence before the negotiating table, or the Afghan government has shown a flexible response to this group, they have responded with suicide attacks and killing more people.
Anyway, we need to have serious and strong both in battlefield and also on negotiation table.  We are as strong as we are united and as weak as we are divided. It is very vital that all peace negotiators have single voice and stance; otherwise, It is predictable that Taliban and their supporters will enjoy hearing different conflicting voices from the Kabul delegation that participates in the conference. Unfortunately, everyone is following its own personal goal; neither the government institutions are convergent, and nor the opposition parties have a pre-defined coherence and specific platform. The opposing voices from the opposing side of the Taliban in The Moscow Summit showed that there are no criteria for our politicians, and there is no central point on which they all have consensus. Some were looking for an interim government or acting government, and others showed tendencies towards Islamic Emirate of Taliban.
Seemingly, the delegation to Doha, Qatar, has a very heterogeneous composition while they are several times more than the group participated at the Moscow conference. In this case, the possibility of rising contradictory and conflicting voices from the Afghan delegation to the Taliban is very high. It is more likely that every political leader and representatives of the political parties would try to state strange statements violating many of the principles set forth. In addition, there might be some individuals among the participants that would be in favor of the Taliban and its regional advocates and thus violate the agreed principles. It must be notified that the Afghan people have come to a universal agreement on many issues such as maintaining the constitution, preserving the political system, preserving human rights and civil liberties and the media freedom and these principles are emphasized as the red lines of government and people of Afghanistan.
Given that we are in the sensitive phase of the history of the country, efforts should be made in order to have serious and strong position both in battlefield and also on negotiation table. Specifically, we need to state joint and common views to the conference by Kabul delegations so as to properly represent the government and people of Afghanistan.  The single positions at the Doha Conference, not only keeps them up and bring them under a large umbrella but also increase the chances of negotiation success. Thereupon, both Taliban and its supporters give serious consideration to the other side, otherwise they will never be taken seriously, and each will return to the country alone and shamefully.

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

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