Home Views & Opinions The result of US election made progress in the Intra-Afghan peace talks

The result of US election made progress in the Intra-Afghan peace talks

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The intra-Afghan dialogue rejuvenated after the pressure mainly from the result of the US election forced the Taliban and their sponsors to move forward before the Bide Administration takes an oath that may result in reviewing the Doha agreement which may overturn the deal. The members of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban group, have agreed upon the layout and structure of the negotiation with fulfilling the Taliban’s demand for basing the US-Taliban deal as the foundation of intra-Afghan peace talks. The progress in The intra-Afghan talks is coming at a time when the violence is at its peak. The month of November recorded the highest in violence according to New York Times “At least 244 pro-government forces and 200 civilians were killed in Afghanistan in November”The intra-Afghan peace process is in the next crucial stage of setting the agenda. For theIslamic Republic of Afghanistan team, the most pressing issue is the ceasefire, and for the Taliban group,the restoration of an Islamic emirate, release of the 7000 inmates, and the delisting of their leaders from the United Nations blacklist. But what matters for the ordinary Afghan is the peace which is like a needle lost in the haystack.
Although the Afghan government was not part of the US-Talian deal, it released over 5000 Taliban prisoners in the hope of taming the Taliban for agreeing to a ceasefire. The released Taliban fighter according to the Afghan government and other sources has joined the Taliban fighter’s war machinery in Helmand, Kandahar and, other parts of the country. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan negotiation team has been pushing for a ceasefire which not only enhances the environment of trust between the intra-Afghan negotiating parties but would also give hope to the Afghan people that peace is reachable. The ceasefire by the Taliban further indicates that they are committed to peace. So far the Taliban have just warmed up the battleground for more political concessions during the negotiation process.The US-Taliban Doha agreement demanded that the Taliban should severe its ties with al-Qaida, reduce violence. According to the Washington Post article, “Behind the Taliban’s ties to al-Qaeda: A shared ideology and decades of battlefield support” The Taliban never cut their ties with al-Qaida and on the contrary the violence sore up. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s negotiating team is under intense pressure from the people of Afghanistan to rush for a ceasefire as the violence is getting a toll on Afghan security forces and civilians.
On the other hand, the United Nations General Assembly recently adopted a resolution commending the progress in intra-Afghan peace talks and expressed concern on increased terrorist violence. The reason the Taliban are not bowing down to ceasefire is that the Taliban fear meltdown influence, and control over their fighters, and similarly can’t excerpt pressure for more political leverage during the negotiation process.
The Taliban have so far been successful throughout the negotiation process with the United States and during the intra-Afghan negotiations. The Taliban have frequently reiterated their demand for the revival of the Islamic regime under the Hanafi Shariah law. The question that arises does the current regime in Afghanistan is not Islamic? The Taliban insistence on a strict Wahabi Shariah regime and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s negotiators’ demand of the democratic regime may prolong, and complicate the negotiation process. The further delay in reaching a political settlement will further escalate the violence.
As part of the Taliban’s tactic of political point-scoring, the group has come up with new demand for releasing their remaining fighters from the Afghan government prisons. With violence at its peak, Mullah Baradar, the head of a political office in Qatar, speaking to a Qatar based institution, cited that the 7000 Taliban prisoners and delisting of the Taliban leaders are the obstacles to achieving peace in Afghanistan. According to the US-Taliban Doha agreement, three months after the release of the initial 5000 Taliban prisoners, the remaining 7000 Taliban inmates should be now be released. In this regard, the United States pressure would force the Afghan government to release the remaining 7000 dangerous Taliban fighters which also include al-Qaida fighters. The recent ZulmaiKhalizaz visit to Qatar is an effort to speed up the intra-Afghan peace process, and pave the way for new demand of the Taliban.
With gridlock being taken off, the intra-Afghan negotiating teams have taken a break to seek consultation for the next round of the negotiation which is setting up the agenda. The Afghan people are in dire need of a ceasefire and the break in the negotiation will further increase the chances of misleadings during the intra-Afghan peace talks. The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan team has reached Kabul and the Taliban team headed by Mullah Ghani Baradar has arrived in Islam Abad. In return for the Taliban’s new demand for the release of the remaining 7000 prisoners, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah the head of the High Peace Council has asked the Taliban to resume negotiation inside Afghanistan. To enhance mutual trust, the Taliban should not have any reservations to resume the next round of negotiation inside Afghanistan. The Afghan government has pledged to provide space and security for the peace talks. Dr.Abdullah’s call upon holding the intra-Afghan negotiations within the territory of Afghanistan comes at a time when Prime Minister Imran Khan in his recent visit to Kabul pledged to do whatever it takes to restore peace in Afghanistan.
The United States election result, visit of Imran Khan to Kabul, and convention of the first National Council for Peace gatherings are among the developments that have pushed the intra-Afghan negotiation to a more pragmatic step of talks on the agenda. The Trump Administration in its last bid trying to implement a promise of what is called the rushed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The strategy that will endanger the US presence in South Asia, reverse back the democratic achievements made in Afghanistan with the investment of blood and capital. The release of the remaining 7000 Taliban prisoners and the delisting of the Taliban leader from the United Nations’s blacklist will only enhance the Taliban political, and military capability which can further hinder the ceasefire the only wish of the Afghan people before seeking a political settlement.