Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

Is the Taliban ready for Peace in Afghanistan?

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Is the Taliban ready for Peace in  Afghanistan?

It is nearly two years that peace talks have began with the Taliban but no tangible outcome produced yet. The level of violence and target attacks has extremely tired the people of Afghanistan.  The unexpected violence against civilians has not only disappointed the people but also raised a lot of questions in Afghanistan. The people are really confused about what does really Taliban want?  Is the Taliban truly ready for peace in Afghanistan or they use the peace process as a political tactic and opportunity to reach power? In other words, are there any notable changes in the mentality and political ideology of the Taliban? If yes, what are those changes? In case of any changes, is it compatible with the main achievements and foundations of the republic system?
It seems that the political destiny of Afghanistan closely linked to an accurate response to these questions. Based on the recent expression of Hafiz Mansoor, a member of the government’s negotiating team with the Taliban; no notable changes are seen in the political ideology of the Taliban. It is said the Taliban still enforces its strict interpretation of Islam in areas under its control and so Mansoor warned that the Taliban use peace talks as a deceitful tactic to reach power and topple the current system. Based on his recent expression, it will be a fantasy to think that the Taliban have changed their ways, while they are not ready to negotiate about the ceasefire and next political system. Thus, the Taliban’s ultimate objective is to remove the current Islamic Republic and replace it with their Islamic Emirate. Mansoor, urged that the Taliban with its narrow and dark mentalities has no merit to lead the country as they act as just as a tool of regional countries against the US presence in Afghanistan.
During the domination of the Taliban regime from 1996 - 2001, the power was rigorously centralized in the hands of an “Amir ul-Momineen,” the leader of the faithful. This supreme leader was the head of state and had ultimate authority. The constitution did not describe how such a leader would be selected or for how long he could serve. Also, it was of the main condition that the supreme leader must be male and a Sunni Muslim. In short, during the domination of the Taliban regime, there was nothing to define civil rights, freedom, and public participation in the social and cultural areas.
Given the past and present position of the Taliban, many Afghans, including members of the Republic’s negotiation team, do not believe that the Taliban have changed. According to Mansoor, three factors have emboldened the Taliban to ignore the demand of a great nation. Firstly, the internal disorders and weaknesses of the government in protection of the citizens and territory of the country have made the Taliban more immodest. This weakness not only made the Taliban and other terrorist immodest but also created enormous distances between government and people.
In fact, the terrorist events became so regular as if there is no security system, no humanity, and no responsible institutions to protect the citizens. Everyone is surprised why such successive tragedies cannot impel the security officials to take some fundamental measures in the area of security while they are extremely sensitive against a certain ethnic group and local uprising groups. Instead of using military forces and international aid against terrorism, it is used against local uprising groups and other defenseless people in Behsood and also Herat as recently witnessed.
Although the people heard so many words and hot speeches, they saw no outcome in practice. As a result, a large number of people either are isolated at home because of everyday explosions or compelled to leave the country. If the government does not take immediate action, it will have very unpleasant consequences for the government.  Given the high level of public dissatisfaction and given the rise of violence, the beds are becoming ready for the enemy of Afghanistan to mobilize people against the government and the international community. We have seen many cases in the few last years that people referred to the Taliban to ask for help or inspect their cases.
The second factor which made the Taliban overconfident, according to Hafiz Manssor, was the peace agreement between the US and the Taliban. He said, “the peace agreement with Taliban was the biggest mistake as it made them feel overconfident and victorious against the US and international allies.” Unfortunately, the administration of Trump showed too much flexibility against the Taliban giving them more confidence and morale. As result, Taliban has not only changed to the rival of a legitimate government but also victimized thousands of Afghan armed and civilians while the peace talks in the coordination of Khalilzad have produced no result other than the release of 5000 dangerous terrorists and overconfidence of the group.  Although Afghan people and other stakeholders such as United Nations, European Union, and Islamic World Ulemas raised their voices requesting to make a ceasefire or at least decrease violence, they further intensified civilian killings justifying their cruel actions with Islamic Jehad.
The last factor, according to Hafiz Mansoor, which emboldened the Taliban, is internal divisions in the country. On one hand, the political leaders are not united in supporting the government with prioritizing the strategic interests of the country. On the other hand, the monopolistic policy of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani deepened the gaps and distances between political leaders and government. He urged that the current monopolistic policy of Mohammad Ashraf Ghani encouraged the Taliban to become more immodest and more hopeful to dominate the country through infiltrating the divided politicians. Undoubtedly, the Taliban are not able to occupy the country if we are united under a single national flag with preserving equity, equality, and brotherhood in Afghanistan.

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

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