Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Peace Agreement with HIA

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Peace Agreement with HIA

Addressing a ceremony marking the 5th assassination anniversary of former head of High Peace Council (HPC) Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani on Friday, Jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf urged Afghans to avoid tribal and linguistic discriminations in the supreme national interest.  He called on the government to pay greater attention to strengthening Afghan security forces, and ensure strong national support to them. He hailed the sacrifices of Afghan forces as unprecedented in the country’s history.
The Taliban envoy who had travelled to a Kabul house that fateful night, ostensibly to discuss peace, carried a more deadly message inside his turban, which murdered the head of HPC Professor Rabbani on 20 September 2011. Afghan officials offered an olive branch to the Taliban elements to come to negotiating table and stop spilling the blood of Afghan civilians and soldiers. Afghan HPC was established in 2010 to pave the way for truce. However, the Taliban have been refusing the peace offering and continue their acts of terror without mitigation. They have intensified their attacks in recent months and the graph of casualties has risen.
The Qatar-based Taliban representatives persisted on preconditions for joining the peace process, which was announced at the Pugwash research center in Doha on January 23. The Taliban preconditions included complete withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan, official recognition of Taliban’s political office in Qatar, removal of Taliban from United Nations terrorist blacklist, halt to the arrest and elimination of Taliban, and release of the Taliban inmates from prisons. It did not come to fruition and instability was intensified by the Taliban.
Subsequently, the peace agreement between the government and the HIA was inked on September 22 after negotiations within two years. The agreement was signed by HPC Chairman Pir Syed Ahmad Gilani and National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar. During a ceremony, where President Ashraf Ghani confirmed the peace agreement with his party on Thursday, Hekmatyar hoped the pact would contribute to peace and stability in the country, saying both sides would soon start implementing all articles in the deal. An independent Afghanistan, national unity, respect for all sides and adherence to religious values were common goals of different political groups, he said. The HIA called on the high-profile figures of Afghanistan to support the groundbreaking deal. He urged all militant groups to the join peace process and realize their objective through peaceful means.
In addition, Hekmatyar had message for both the Taliban and National Unity Government (NUG). He urged all warring factions, including the Taliban, to join peace process and resolve the political issues through peaceful means of negotiation. It is believed that his remarks will be of no significance since the Taliban and HIA were in conflicts and had skirmishes in the past. It is believed that the Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah will refuse to come to negotiating table and continue his fighters will continue the unmitigated insurgency. Hence, the HIA will be considered the Taliban’s hostile once again and Hekmatyar’s words will do more harm than good through triggering hatred among the Taliban elements.
On the other hand, Hekmatyar demanded the president accept some terms of the Taliban, including the release of key prisoners as gesture of goodwill for the sake of stability. However, it is believed that the release of the Taliban prisoners will deteriorate the situation and destabilize the country more than ever before. When a number of their prisoners were freed during former President Hamid Karzai’s administration as peace-offering, they rejoined the militant parties and spearheaded deadly attacks in the country. Will Hekmatyar ensure that the Taliban will hold talks and, in case of freeing their prisoners, will not rejoin the fighters?
The answer will be negative. The one, who has turned into Taliban’s stronger hostile through joining NUG, will not be able to ensure a significant issue like this. Moreover, he has never the charisma of a religious leader nor carries the weight of a Mufti for the Taliban, that they give green light to his words.
President Ghani said, in a gathering in the presidential palace, that it was high time for Taliban and other groups to decide if they wanted to stand alongside their nation by joining the peace process like the HIA or choose to continue fighting and promoting insurgency.
Hekmatyar had a third message for a neighboring country not to invest in promoting conflict and killing in the war-torn country and not to seek its interest in waging a war in Afghanistan. He further asked the country’s political leaders and the international community to help bring other fighting groups to the negotiating table.
Indeed, Afghan officials made huge sacrifices and great efforts to make peace and support democracy through bringing warring parties to peace table, despite the death of HPC’s former head Prof. Rabbani. The peace agreement with HIA reveals the government’s generous acts as it granted an amnesty to this party in spite of their terrorist acts in Afghanistan – this was considered a violation of human rights by Human Rights’ Watchdog and triggered a sense of fear and hatred among the public.
Currently, the public hope for better with a sense of fear. It will be too early to judge about the outcome of this agreement. The process of time will reveal the result of the agreement and it is the readers to pass their judgment in this regard.
After all, Afghan nation should be careful enough not to involve in sectarian and linguistic issues and will have to strengthen unity through focusing on shared interests, mainly in such a critical situation.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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