Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, May 25th, 2020

What Does the Violence Reduction Mean?

This is several times that the top government officials rejected the Taliban’s violence reduction plan with its probable agreement with the United States. In recent days, the second vice president repeatedly reacted against the Taliban’s violence reduction plan calling it as deception of the international community and escape from actual peace program. A few days ago, the Pakistani foreign minister had also mentioned the Taliban’s violence reduction plan with adding that the violence reduction is a positive step towards peace in Afghanistan. A number of Afghanistan’s supporters had also welcomed the plan to reduce violence at a meeting in Qatar last week. But the Afghan government has insisted that a ceasefire should be announced before beginning inter-Afghan talks instead of violence reduction plan. According to the second vice-president, the Taliban want to escape from actual peace with deceiving the international community.
Given the above action and reactions, the key question is what does violence reduction really mean? This question is important because a new terminology entered in political literature of Afghanistan which is really fresh in literacy of peace and war of the country. In clearer term, the “violence reduction” does not have an understandable meaning and it neither can be clearly defined while if we compare it to ceasefire it has a clear meaning which means a cessation of war for a certain period of time. The ceasefire period maybe very short like one or two hour  but the violence reduction is a concept that cannot be truly measured or specified at least for now. Practically, the ceasefire concept is not something new and it has experienced and used in many world conflicts but violence reduction seems very new which is likely to be experienced in political libratory of Afghanistan.
So far, the Taliban have used all means of violence against the Afghan government and people in all situations. Taliban used various types of violence which include a long list such as assassination, robbery, hostage-taking, kidnapping, suicide attacks, destruction of economic infrastructure, destruction of public property, conspiracy against Afghan national interests through psychological propaganda, spread of religious and ethnic hatred, threatening the foundations of the Afghan political system and so on. Many of these actions are among those violent plans which are carried out on the daily basis in all parts of Afghanistan. The question now is which types of this violence are included in the “violence reduction” plan.  Similarly, there seems no clear prospect and consequences about the next steps of violence reduction plan. If the Taliban has a benevolent intention about peace and war in the country, why they do not accept the ceasefire and not stop killing innocent civilians.
Thus far, none of the major parties who are involved in conflicts of Afghanistan including Taliban or members of international community has provided clear definition about “violence reduction plan”. Though they expressed their satisfaction about the Taliban’s violence reduction plan but no one is able to explain the details and definition of the programs. So, violence reduction does not seem to have a clear and concrete meaning when we look back at the 40-year peace and war of the country. When the question of violence reduction is meaningless without an objective definition, the second question arises: what would be the goal of Taliban with raising such a meaningless plan?
To answer the second questions, we need to review several probable scenarios. The first possible scenario is that this nonsensical word is contoured by the regional intelligence agencies. It is likely that some of regional supporters of the group have allowed them reduce some of the terrorist attacks in the wake of inter-Afghan talks but for an undisclosed time.  This step will undoubtedly be considered as an important step at least in public opinion and a major achievement in the Afghan peace process. In the meanwhile, it will be a good refection time while staying in the mountains is too hard in the winter freezing weather.
The second scenario is that the Taliban is trapped in a predicament and want to escape from actual peace through mentioning such a nonsensical term. In fact, this is the same analysis provided by the Afghan government. We all know that the Taliban are having a bad time in public opinion and social bases in Afghanistan. No one can find a rational and persuasive reason for the Taliban who led the war for more than two decades with destroying public infrastructures and killings thousands of innocent people. Since the beginning up to the date, they have had only one motto: jihad against corruption and the enemies of the Afghan people. In practice, they launched war against civilians, women and children and committed all kinds of crimes against humanity under shadow of jihad and the slogan of eliminating corruption. The latest example of such crimes was killing of family in Baghlan even did not have mercy on his forty-day-old son.
The fact is that the life of Taliban Jehad has come to an end and the group can no longer survive under the shadow of this deceptive slogan. If the group, instead of reducing the violence, accepts ceasefire, all its reasons for this senseless and inhumane war against the Afghan people will fade away, and the core philosophy of continuing to kill people will fall from the foundation. Therefore, the Taliban and its regional supporters have now raised the violence reduction plan but it is good to specify and set clear objective criteria for it so that the people of Afghanistan clearly know what the violence reduction would mean?