Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, April 26th, 2018

The Final Steps of Peace Talks with HIA

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The Final Steps of Peace Talks with HIA

The peace agreement that is said to be in finalizing steps between government and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar the chief of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) is not likely to bring significant changes in the fortunes of Afghanistan. As the HIA chief is the least of the several factors threatening social and economical development in Afghanistan. The main factors such as Taliban, Daesh, Haqqani group and etc remained determined to blackmailing the country. On the other hand, the government has not shown a strong determination against terrorists who used to be destroying social and economic infrastructures. Even so, the authorities are steeped in childish, internal and tribal issues.
Few days after striking a landmark peace deal with Kabul administration, the HIA chief Gulbuddin Hekmatyar invited Taliban insurgents to also become part of the reconciliation process. Hekmatyar, whose whereabouts have been unknown since 2001, is expected to surface after his group and the National Unity Government formally sign the agreement, paving the way for HIA to start political activities. “I appeals to all Afghans to resolve problems through an intra-Afghan dialogue. Hundreds of innocent Afghans are killed just because of fighting to capture security posts and districts. This is neither a logical way nor allowed in Islam. Armed groups involved in fighting should declare a temporary ceasefire and join the intra-Afghan dialogue,” the HIA chief said in his Eid message. Hekmatyar confirmed that HIA and the government have reached a key agreement after nearly two years of continued and hectic negotiations. “Afghanistan is in dire need of peace and reconciliations and therefore I signed the peace accord with Afghan government,” he said. He also called upon the Taliban and other armed groups to take part in talks and present their demands in line with Islamic ‘Sharia’. “I assure the Taliban that HIA will support their genuine demands. I would ask the government to show sincerity towards the opponents. I would also demand the release of several important commanders of the Taliban. Also he ordered his fighters to spare Afghan security personnel and only act against them if provoked. “We are not in favour of fighting with Afghan security forces. We have instructed our Mujahideen to avoid attacks on Afghan forces, and respond only if they come under attack,” he added in his Eid message. President Ashraf Ghani also confirmed that a peace agreement with the HIA would be finalized very soon. “We hope for peace in Afghanistan and to end the war in the country,” he said.
“All should accept the reality that peace and security could only be ensured when foreign troops quit, foreign intervention in Afghanistan’s internal affairs has ended, Afghans are allowed to solve problems on their own, decide a system and choose trusted leaders,” Hekmatyar said. “We should agree that only the Afghan Muslim nation has the right to elect leadership and introduce a system, and to stop the people from reaching the corridors of powers with the help of arms and money from abroad,” he added. Referring to peace talks between HIA and the government, he urged Ghani not to miss the opportunity for bringing an end to the war and restoring peace. He also called upon President Obama “not to accept the suggestions of warmongers who insist on a longer stay of American troops and a continuation of the war.”
However, the peace deal with the HIA which over the years has been losing its public support as well as its dedicated armed cadre can hardly be a significant consolation for the government. It is still not very clear who between the two had initiated the peace process. Both perhaps were equally willing because of their respective compulsions and responded to the other’s initiative readily. One, however, suspects it was the initiative of Hekmatyar who at the end of his political career wanted perhaps to go down in a blaze of glory. But while the process once it leads to an agreement would certainly bring Gulbuddin out of his long-drawn isolation and in his opinion make his party once again relevant to the current developments in Afghanistan.
But it is questionable that the very man who had in the first place destroyed any prospects of a Mujahideen-led multi-faction government in Kabul after the collapse of the Soviet backed communist regime in 1992 by bombarding the Afghan capital with rockets seems flexible now. Again it is questionable, after having served as Prime Minister in Kabul from March 1993 till January 1994 but not satisfied with his share of power in the government he tried to overthrow Rabbani’s Islamic government by force. His rocket attacks had almost completely destroyed Kabul. In late 1996, the Taliban overran Kabul and forced Rabbani and Hekmatyar to flee north. Since then, he has been out of the reckoning in the Afghan power play. It is said that senility has perhaps taken over his mental faculties because after having entered into to a peace process with the government of Ghani he is assuring Taliban that the HIA would support their genuine demands.

Moreover, it raised the concerns that HIA’s ideologies will restrict the role of women in political and social arenas to a large extent and marginalize them from the government. So, if peace deal is signed at the cost of people’s rights, legal values and freedom, this will not be acceptable for citizens who sacrificed to achieving current state. It is the government to be vigilant enough so that the negotiation does not be counterproductive or create a gap between state and nation since it seems to put the government on a collision course with the public. Finally, the Taliban’s deceptive play in peace game should be an eye-opener for Afghan officials and further sacrifices in this regard will be beyond the tolerance of the nation.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the newly emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@ gmail.com

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