Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Need for UN-led Peace Process with the Taliban

In the wake of new political developments and upcoming important international events about Afghanistan, an important opposition block the National Front, which was founded recently by heavyweights like Ex-Vice President Ahmed Zia Massoud, Chief of National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan (NIMA/Junbish) Abdur Rashid Dostum and Head of People's Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan (Hizb-e-Wahdat), has demanded that the peace process should be led by the United Nations.

In a press conference on Monday, National Front spokesman Faizullah Zaki demanded that the upcoming important Bonn Conference in December should include a comprehensive and broad agenda of peace process with the Taliban to be led by the United Nations.

For the last two years, we have had intense debate among different political groups and the Government as well as media analysis about the peace process and reconciliation with the Taliban. The first such program was launched under the leadership of Sibgatullah Mujaddadi.

Since the second term of President Karzai in office, his Administration has started a process of efforts to hold talks with the Taliban and pursue reconciliation and reintegration programs.

There have been several "official projects" in this regard. However, we have witnessed that for the last three years, nothing has come out of the efforts of Karzai Administration other than a major breakthrough when a Taliban imposter and shopkeeper from Quetta Pakistan deceived the Government and NATO taking handsome amount of money back to Quetta.

Later another suicide bomber took away martyred Ustad Rabbani from us when he came as Taliban representative from Mullah Omar to talk to him. After the tragic assassination of Professor Rabbani, President Karzai announced to halt the "process of talks" with the Taliban.

Karzai admitted for the first time that all his efforts had failed and that Taliban had no address. He also said to directly talk with Pakistan, where Taliban leadership are living. Such was this vague comment that President Karzai had to retract just a week later by confusing statements.

Despite all these failures so far, he once again used the staged Traditional Loya Jirga to ask his hand-picked "elders" for advice on talks with the Taliban. Last of the 72-article resolution from the Loya Jirga demanded the US and Afghanistan to pursue serious talks with the Taliban.

Now all the political leadership in the opposition and the Government have come to a consensus about the need to talk with Taliban. However, the Karzai Administration, despite being failed so far in their efforts, still emphasizes that the process of talks and reconciliation be "Afghan-led".

It's the first time that an important opposition group has called for the peace process to be led by the United Nations. In a letter to German Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Mr. Michael Steiner shown to media on Monday, Ahmed Zia Massoud, Chief of the National Front called on the German Government to include a comprehensive plan of UN-led peace process with the Taliban in the agenda of the Bonn Conference to be held in December.

Its high-time for the international community to make a serious effort in this regard. The weak Karzai Administration which has lack of political credibility has not the capacity to pursue the peace process and reconciliation with the Taliban. This must be led by the United Nations.

Spokesmen of the National Front, Faizullah Zaki and Jawad Sultani, respectively the deputy chairmen of Junbish and Hizb-e-Wahdat said that the peace process should not be an intra-tribal affairs of the Karzai Administration, or an issue between the Afghan Government, US and Taliban, but must include all factions of the Afghan society, particularly those who resisted Taliban and oppose them now.

The heavyweights of National Front, Ahmad Zia Massoud, brother of legendary Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, Muhammad Muahqiq and Abdur Rashid Dostum, all of whom enjoy ethnic popular support and have a history of resistance against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda elements in Afghanistan represent an important segment of the Afghan society and of course any peace process with Taliban without the approval of all factions of our society will not be successful.