Intra-Afghan Dialogue and Response of the Kabul Regime
Mairaj ul Hamid Nasri
Afghanistan has seen a variety of peace processes and positive developments as well as many disappointments on the part of its government and the global community. But the reality is that no fruitful outcomes from these processes have been seen, and the Afghans are still living a miserable life. In this backdrop, the recent initiative by former president Hamid Karzai – with the covert support of Kabul regime, though – to bring Afghans and the Taliban to the negotiating table to carve out a negotiated settlement of the problem has kindled another ray of hope for peace in Afghanistan. Media reports suggest that the two sides have almost reached a deal, though some troubling and critical points of disagreement are still to be settled.
The Afghan peace process was initiated during the Hamid Karzai era in 2005, and it saw many ups and downs during his tenure. The Afghan High Peace Council was constituted and Istanbul Process was also kicked off in 2012 when Karzai was the president of Afghanistan. He had personal relationships with many of the Taliban interlocutors and enjoys somewhat sway over them. Although his personality may be controversial in many respects for some people, yet his re-entry in the peace process seems a good omen for restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
Afghan leaders have held three meetings with Taliban interlocutors in Moscow and Doha. Media reports suggest that the two sides have agreed upon some crucial points but a serious issue which is yet to be settled is the future political system of Afghanistan and the current constitutional arrangement in the country. The Taliban insist that Afghanistan will be an Islamic emirate while the leftists want a republic for future political settlement.
Interestingly, the Taliban had clearly refused to hold talks with the Afghan government but somehow they got ready to negotiate with some Afghan leaders who have the backing of the Kabul regime. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has also started preparations for a possible settlement with the Taliban. While addressing the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan, President Ghani shared the roadmap for peace with the Taliban. He informed the participating delegates: “We have formed the required bodies and mechanisms to pursue a peace agreement. We are now moving ahead into the next chapter of the peace process.” He also pointed out that the Afghans seek a peace agreement whereby the Taliban would be included in a democratic and inclusive society, respecting the constitutional rights and obligations of all citizens, especially women. The Constitution of the country is acceptable to both parties and the amendments to it would be through the constitutional mechanism. Moreover, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces and civil service will function according to the law of the land. No armed groups having ties with transnational terrorist networks or transnational criminal organizations, or with state/non-state actors seeking influence in Afghanistan, will be allowed to join the political process.
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