Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Hopes and Worries over Intra-Afghan Peace Talks


Hopes and Worries over Intra-Afghan  Peace Talks

These days Kabul is hosting a series of conferences and negotiations to pave the ground for Intra-Afghan peace talks. According to media reports, today the representatives from Iran, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations were invited to attend the meetings. Following the peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, this is a very good initiative, highlighting the role of the Afghan government and people in the peace talks and in the country’s overall political process. Unfortunately, the Doha talks had somehow isolated the government from the peace talks but these conferences at the regional and international levels make the role of government important in the country’s peace process. So, it is hoping for public opinion to hold such meetings strengthening regional and supra-regional consensus on the peace process and intra-Afghan talks
Meanwhile, there are also some fear and concerns which pertain to different peace reaching barriers. Unfortunately, some individuals and groups seek their interests in war in the country trying to hamper the process in one or other way. Though a number of these elements are still in prisons and so the Afghan government has denied release of 597 dangerous prisoners that are included in Taliban’s list of 5,000 prisoners. Unfortunately, a number these elements are active in political arena. Therefore, the government must also open its eyes playing their historic role to end the war in the country. Recently, the Afghan Senators have also urged to clamp down those spoilers who undermine the Afghan peace process – as these circles have been emboldened to take constant action to imperil the prospect of peace designed to end war in Afghanistan. They also expressed concern over intensification of insecurity across the country. “Insecurity has been escalating,” media report quoted from Senator Nabia Mustafi. “The districts are not secured. Beside the economic and health crisis, the insecurity has concerned the masses.”
Other parts of Afghan public fear and concerns relate to the rapid US soldiers pullout from the country. The United States’ efforts show that the United States wants to provide the ground for the reduction of its forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible. On the other hand, the incalculable withdrawal of the United States’ troops from Afghanistan may have detrimental consequences for that country, whose compensation will be much heavier in the future than the presence of its troops in Afghanistan. They committed and promised to remove the terrorists from the country but while the war and conflicts are increasing with everyday killing dozens of armed and civilians across the country. If the rapid and irresponsible withdrawal persists, it will not only fail them to fulfill their commitments against world and Afghan people but also fail to make sure that there is no threat from Afghanistan to the United States in the future.
In general, the delay of intra-Afghan talks, intensification of violence with increasing absolute poverty have extremely concerned and disappointed the people. Insecurity, suicide bombings and organized assassinations have intensified since the serious efforts for intra-Afghan talks have started. According to the analysts, the persisting rise of violence can seriously challenge the success of peace talks in the country. The biggest challenge to start negotiations was the release of prisoners, which has now been resolved, with a large number of prisoners released on both sides. Therefore, there is no other obstacle to start negotiations while it is still delayed. If the Taliban wants peace and political dialogue, why they do not reduce violence showing their goodwill and create more appropriate context for dialogue and efforts to accelerate this process? Why they do not declare a ceasefire? Why they prepare for large-scale military strikes on districts and provincial capitals?All these moves and the events of recent months have increased the concerns that the Taliban are throwing stones at intra-Afghan talks and providing opportunities for opponents of the peace process by spreading violence.
Anyway, the Afghan government and Afghan people have shown much more flexibility against Taliban with becoming more active de-marginalizing from the pace process which started in Doha. As abovementioned, It is a very good step that the government has already started to work on a national, regional and international consensus but the success of these negotiations are largely depends on self-devotion from all parts. The factual concerns of people rise when they see the firm and uncompromising position of Taliban. They always make excuses to start peace talks and want to challenge the Afghan government with big demands and release of dangerous prisoners. In spite of this, the government has paved the way for talks and now, thrown the ball into the Taliban’s court. The Taliban are now under pressure from the Afghan people and the international community, who want to destabilize the talks by escalating violence. If the Taliban persist to on their dishonest position, the world needs to get united against Taliban and their supporters. According to a recent Pentagon report to the US Congress, the Taliban group has not stopped their relations with al-Qaeda terrorist group. Based on the report, the Taliban still linked to the South Asian branch of al-Qaeda, and that al-Qaeda was involved in training and organizing Taliban forces, which could damage the group’s reputation. That’s why recently Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a meeting with Mullah Baradar, emphasized on Taliban’s commitment to the agreement and called on the Taliban to act in accordance with the agreement. Means, they should not attack American forces and sever ties with terrorist groups but they do in practice.

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

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