ژورنال افغانستان


The caravan of Afghan peace to reach its destination

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A joint declaration issued at the end of the March 27 meeting in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, noted the signatories' "strong backing for the National Unity Government's offer to launch direct talks with the Taliban, without any preconditions." They also called upon the Taliban to "accept this offer for a peace process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned."

 The noted that a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban would be the best possible way for ending the long-running conflict and there was a dire need for both parties to negotiate.  

 The participants of the conference called on the Taliban to embrace peace offer and emphasized on the need for Taliban to fulfill their responsibilities in establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan.

  They encouraged both the Afghan government and the Taliban to step forward a political agreement.

 Afghan authorities have persistently been calling on the Taliban to come to negotiating table over the last one and half decades.

 There have been persistent efforts ongoing since the fall of the Taliban regime and the formation of the first elected government in Afghanistan to encourage the Taliban to talk with the government and stop their military campaign against the people and the government of Afghanistan, but none of these efforts have so far yielded any positive outcomes.

 Despite a softer approach of the Afghan authorities toward the Taliban, the Taliban has not yet stopped fighting even for a single moment. The group has continuously attacked civilians and Afghan security forces.

 The United Nations in its latest report said that more than 10,000 civilians were killed or injured in the violent attacks in the war in Afghanistan last year.

 Taliban's persistent and violent attacks have made the Afghan president to issue two warnings against the group during the last two years.

 Earlier, the president said the Afghan government would hence after look for peace in the battlefield, a statement that sparked a wave of optimism about changing the government's approach in regard with the Taliban. However, after that, the president offered the Taliban a peace plan that included talks with the Taliban without preconditions and later in an interview said that his ultimate goal would be to reach a peaceful agreement with the Taliban.

 Also at the Tashkent conference that was held yesterday, the president called on the Taliban to accept his peace plan.

 He highlighted the importance of economic stability and development in the region, and once again called on the Taliban to engage in peace talks with the government.

 European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called the Afghan government's peace plan a "golden opportunity."  The Uzbek government also declared his support and readiness to host any peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

 The Afghan government has so far been able to successfully attract international support for the peace process, but the main question now arises as whether these efforts will yield any significant outcome?

 In other words, will the Taliban respond positively to the calls being made by the Afghan government and many regional and international countries to reconcile with the Afghan government? 

 Taliban's 17-year-old campaign against NATO and the Afghan government has so far left thousands of victims. An average of 5,000 civilians are targeted and killed annually as a result of the conflict between the two sides, mainly by Taliban's attacks.

 A large part of the country is now facing severe insecurity and this situation has had devastating consequences for the government, the government's inability to conduct parliamentary elections is one of them.

 The government's inability to provide security for voting centers is considered to be the biggest challenge facing the parliamentary elections.  Last year, a thousand schools across the country were closed due to Taliban's persistent threat. Thousands of children were deprived of acquiring education. The continuation of this situation where the Taliban is struggling to weaken the central government in order to ensure its success is promising. 

 The government and its international supporters have so far been constantly attempting to give only concessions to the Taliban in a bid to encourage them to sit at the negotiating table with Afghan officials. 

 An attempt to put pressure on Pakistan is considered an exception in this regard.

 Beyond that, the government has always pursued a soft and companionate approach toward the Taliban, in addition to being unable to consolidate its foundations.

 Corruption in security agencies and ambiguity in the official policy of the government have inflicted no tangible pressure on the Taliban to stop their violent campaign.

 The national unity government of Afghanistan, however, is to be appreciated for its foreign policy for attracting the international support for the peace process, but its efforts are not enough.

 It (the government) must make it clear who it is fighting with, a subversive and terrorist group, or according to president Ghani, a political opposition group?

 In addition to making decisive efforts to reach a political and peaceful settlement with the Taliban through its foreign-policy initiatives, the government must also strengthen its foundations and regain the public confidence, if not, the caravan of peace will unlikely reach its destination.

 The government will not succeed to regain the public confidence unless it takes a clear stance against the Taliban and use all its capabilities to suppress and punish the Taliban.

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