Only Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process can bring peace in the war-torn nation

Some questions are difficult as this one. Will peace come to Afghanistan considering that hectic parleys are going on with the Taliban? 

The US recently had a six-day negotiations with the Taliban in Doha. Immediately after, Russia also organised a meeting with the Taliban in Moscow. On the one hand, the Taliban are talking to the US and Russia on the issue of peace and on the other hand, killings are taking place in an uninterrupted manner. There is also an apprehension that the Taliban may take over country. All this factors indicates that the future is extremely difficult to predict.

The Moscow meeting held earlier this week ended with the hope that US will soon exit Afghanistan. Taliban and prominent Afghan leaders including former President Hamid Karzai attended the meeting. As the Afghan government was not represented, none of the agreements can be implemented. In all these negotiations – Doha & Moscow – the Afghanistan government is missing. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has time and again asked the Taliban to begin direct dialogue with representatives of the government, but the Taliban is repeatedly rejecting it. The negotiations with the Taliban without involving the Afghanistan government can hardly yield results.

The Trump administration is desperate to withdraw its remaining troops from the Afghanistan. According to Zalmay Khalizad, US special envoy for Afghanistan’s resolution, they have reached a ‘framework’ deal with the Taliban and they will take it forward when they meet next on February 25. Khalizad said that ‘framework’ is a preliminary step and would move towards complete cease-fire and a political roadmap. The US is keen that the Taliban should not attack their missions. The Taliban is playing their cards well and trying to get maximum benefits from the dialogues. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, chief negotiator for the Taliban said that they have negotiated a deal with the US under which America will withdraw its troops in the next 18 months.   

The US still has around 15,000 troops in Afghanistan. Trump has tied troop’s withdrawal with the progress in talks. There is no consensus on the issue in the US. James Mattis, former secretary of defence, resigned following his major differences with the Trump administration over the issue. Mattis was against the withdrawal. Afghans are worried that abrupt withdrawal of troops by US could lead to serious fighting and killings similar to what happened in 1989 when Soviet Russia withdrew from the Afghanistan.

India has a big stake in the neighbouring Afghanistan. India is mainly involved in the reconstruction. India’s has invested more than $ 3 billion in various reconstruction projects. India has, from the beginning, taken a principled stand of not sending troops to the war-torn Afghanistan. India’s position from the beginning is of Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace process. In November last, India participated in a dialogue held in Moscow at a non-official level. Aman Sinha and TCA Raghavan, former envoys in Afghanistan & Pakistan respectively, participated. India is monitoring situation closely. For last few months, India is in touch with the political leadership of the Afghan government and also with the leaders from Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara communities.

Zakhilwal, a former Afghan minister, who participated in the Moscow talks commented the Taliban had shown “a genuine desire for peace, and we saw flexibility in their positions,” particularly in private discussions held away from the cameras.

Presidential elections are expected to be held in Afghanistan on July 20, 2019. President Ghani is contesting the election and so Chief Executive (in real sense PM) Dr Abdullah Abdullah, former NSA Mohammed Hanif Atmar, former anti-Soviet militia leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and couple of others. There is also an apprehension that presidential elections may be postponed again because of the US-Taliban dialogue.  

Unless people of Afghanistan are taken into the confidence, true peace cannot come to Afghanistan. 

TALIBAN CONTRAST
The US recently had a six-day negotiations with the Taliban in Doha. Immediately after, Russia also organised a meeting with the Taliban in Moscow. On the one hand, the Taliban are talking to the US and Russia on the issue of peace and on the other hand, killings are taking place in an uninterrupted manner. There is also an apprehension that the Taliban may take over country. All this factors indicates that the future is extremely difficult to predict.

By: Jatin Desai

Source: http://www.sakaltimes.com/

Updated On: Saturday, 9 February 2019

Share Button