Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, January 15th, 2021

Differences Over Peace Process


Differences Over Peace Process

Indubitably, everybody in Afghanistan supports negotiation and reconciliation with Taliban-led militants. But differences between supporters of the initiative are far larger than that of Kabul government and insurgency.
Last year President Karzai succeeded to form a national-wide peace council which was potentially convincing for his foreign allies to show that representatives of Afghan people actually supported him to reconcile with militants. Latter on, in a political menovour, he established High Peace Council and charged it negotiation and reconciliation with militants. The members of the council consists of various types of people with different background as, sometimes, it becomes hard to accept how the members' own differences be left away and they agree on a common context to offer to insurgency.

Negotiation and reconciliation with militants is not something new that put forward last year. It was followed by circles within the administration from the very outstation of Taliban and commencement of interim government under the chairmanship of Mr. Karzai. There were reports from credential sources that after outstation of Taliban, Mr. President himself had talked with high-ranking Taliban officials and formally asked them to join the democratic process, but reportedly Taliban leaders refused doing so. Their response was clear and obvious: "we actually are not fighting for political power, it may be held by anyone. What we want is realization of true Islamic Sharia".

Before the establishment of national peace council and, subsequent, High Peace Council, several numbers of Taliban militants joined the government and they were truly welcomed as Afghan brothers. And there have always existed insurance for the rest if they renounce violence and accept constitution. They neither worried about their background and scale of miseries they brought about. These measures would have been beyond convenient if the government was strong and Taliban-led militants were truly recognized as rebellions. The ultimate concession that strong governments bestow on those who are recognized as rebellions were not beyond the scale previously offered by Mr. President. But still the initiative limped and could not create peephole among Taliban's establishment. If few joint the government, their sincerity is completely in doubt. Who ensures that they are not opportunists and remain committed to Afghan government? Indeed, no one. The investigation to the incident of Mazar-e-Sharif where innocent employees of United Nations and its security guard was inhumanly killed as response to burning of Quran by hardliner American bishop, clearly showed that former members of Taliban, who joined Afghan government after 2001, were the principle culprits.

Thus, according to past experience, Taliban regime remained intact and never underwent through a corroding process. It clarifies the true authenticity of our enemy and show how they rigid and irreconcilable.
Sincerely speaking, many analysts doubt about political and economic incentives to be offered for militants to drag into ongoing democratic process are cleared. All efforts already made by president but were unproductive and waste.

While, government, on one hand, emphatically does not came short its demand that Taliban-led militants should renounce violence and accept the constitution of Afghanistan, which definitely comprise democratic rights of both man and woman which absolutely is in contrast with Taliban type of puritanical interpretation of Islam and Sharia law. These offers were already made and every Taliban dissected from militants could easily and directly came and occupied posts in Afghan government and there is no one even to question them about their past. Against the offers Taliban stood steadily and showed no flexibility at all.

Even I can recall right after holding 'national Peace Council' in Kabul, Taliban spokesman ridiculed the offers and said that was not a call for negotiation but was an actual call for complete surrender. Terms and conditions of Taliban are different. The very primary one is complete withdrawal of foreign troops and after that they will negotiate with Afghan government. Oops! If it is a term for negotiation, then what would be terms and conditions for reconciliation? Definitely that would be giving up achievements made since 2001.

As primary and warm-up steps to drag militants on negotiation table, Mr. President renamed Taliban—upset Afghan brothers and released their fellows from various detention centers across the country. Freeing insurgent detainees, however, criticized severely but the process has not stopped yet. Their release is made with no conditions of rejoining militants and restarting offensive assault against government. The measure is held only and only to show the sincerity and seriousness of Afghan government that it is ready to press your hands and pour your pockets with money. Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq is one of those who have problem with such a measure. He is also member of high peace council and Member of Parliament from Kabul. Recently, he strongly protested against release of insurgent prisoners by High Peace Council and Afghan National Peace and reconciliation Commission. "Hundreds of criminal and insurgent detainees have been freed without any consideration to the enforced laws in the country, especially Afghan constitution," he told his parliamentarian fellows.

The varied composition of members of the council, lack of common approach against militants within the council and, finally, the measures dictated directly by President are challenges that terribly leaves the prospect of peace process grim and indefinite.
Many analysts are of the view that the pragmatic steps are made by Afghan government. There remain diplomatic efforts, which due to political controversies and somehow chaotic situation of the region has been ineffective. Part of the story is supporters of militants and their safe-heavens beyond borders of Afghanistan. Both political and military measures are too dangerous and also nobody in the world is ever ready to make such a risk. If Taliban militants are acting bravely and mock Afghan government is definitely due to its strong links. If diplomatic efforts threaten their interest out of the country, they will surely accept and perhaps welcome the already offered concessions.

The author is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlook afghanistan@gmail.com

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