Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, July 10th, 2020

Pessimism and Optimism over The US-Taliban Peace Agreement


Pessimism and Optimism over  The US-Taliban Peace Agreement

The eighth round of US-Taliban peace talks just ended on August 12 in Qatar but it caused a lot of Pessimism and optimism across Afghanistan. It has caused optimism because the two sides have finally drafted an agreement about complicated conflicts of Afghanistan hoping to end the long war. It has also caused some doubts and criticism as why the peace agreement is ambiguous and not shared to the people of Afghanistan. However, the talks probably focused on four main issues including the withdrawal of foreign forces, the Taliban’s disconnection with the terrorist groups, in particular the al-Qaeda network and Taliban’s commitment for not letting the terrorist groups to use Afghan soil for terrorist operations. In addition, the talks were to initiate intra-Afghan talks and announcement of a general ceasefire in the country. It said that the agreement is under assessment by both parts expected to be completed in a few next days but some changes may occur in some parts of the draft agreement. Therefore, the two sides will need another meeting to discuss the new changes and suggestions about the draft agreement.
But, as abovementioned, the draft agreement has created pessimism and optimism in the country; it gave much hope to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan and pave the way for further political dialogue between the government and the Taliban. Nevertheless, there are also concerns in regard to ambiguity and outcome of the negotiations; seemingly, the content of the draft agreement has not been shared with the government while people are fully unaware about the contents of the agreement. According to the procedure of previous meetings, details of the meetings and descriptions of the negotiations were to be communicated to the Afghan Government after the summit, but this time, the Afghan Government has not been provided any details about the draft agreement.
A number of Afghanistan’s prominent former Jihadi leaders stress on avoiding a potential uncertainty or civil war in the country. For example, Mohammad Ismail Khan, a member of the Jamiat-e-Islami party, said to media that a civil war can happen in the country if there isn’t a good peace deal in the future. He express concerns about the fragile condition and possibility of war as millions of weapons are among people. Saleh Mohammad Registani, another political analyst says that the Taliban are attempting to enter into the peace process in the political arena of Afghanistan with weapons which could impel him to be prepared alongside other Jihadi leaders to defend the people of Afghanistan against possible threats in the future.
“The Taliban are looking to keep their weapons and their territory both and enter into the political scene of the power. This doesn’t mean peace but a fragile ceasefire and such a move can spark another war. If the Taliban try to enter into peace with weapons, this will not be peace. In that case, of course, we will consider some measures to defend our people,” Mr. Registani said pointing at efforts on peace efforts as the Afghans impatiently wait to see what comes out of the recent talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Mohaqiq, another powerful Afghan Jihadi and political figure who has commanded fierce battles against the Taliban in the past says that if the Afghan government fails to form an inclusive peace negotiating team for talking peace with the Taliban, any negotiation with the group will not yield an outcome and instead, this will push the nation towards a new crisis.
In general, it is very important for the people of Afghanistan to know what issues are included and what issues are to be agreed upon. It is true that these are negotiations between the US and Taliban, but any agreement directly affects the future lives and destiny of the Afghan people. The US came to Afghanistan to take revenge on the perpetrators of the 9/11 incident and declared that it has deployed troops in Afghanistan to destroy terrorist networks and want to establish security and support law enforcement agencies in the country. They also wanted to speed up the process of reconstruction and modernization in the country but none has materialized yet.
Therefore, the US should not unilaterally resolve their problems with the enemies of Afghan people and just decide on their own interests, regardless of the collective destiny of the people and the future of governance in the country. In fact, consultation with the government and people of Afghanistan is of the undeniable right of Afghan people and no country should try to ignore it.
Some of the political leaders also try to interrupt the election process.  They should know that the main peace talks begin when talks start on fundamental peace issues that have not begun yet. Undoubtedly, the Government and Taliban talks will be the most challenging and time-consuming one. We should note that both sides have been fighting for 18 years and each side has certain goals and considerations which are not resolvable in a short time. The negotiations may last a year or more.
On the other hand, the talks are not only about the ceasefire and withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, but the main issue of the agreement is on republicanism and emirate. Also the issue of human rights and citizenship, the issue of women rights, essential rights and freedom of people, especially minority groups. This is where the issue becomes critical for the people of Afghanistan. So, delaying the elections will have nothing but failure, political disruption, and the collapse of the system.

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

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