News are in circulation that second round of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgents likely to take place on July 30 in China. Senior member of the High Peace Council (HPC), Ismail Qasimyar, confirmed it and said that the second round would be held in Urumqi which would also be attended by representatives of the Chinese and United States governments as observers.
Though, there is little information about Pakistan’s role in the second round but it is said that Islamabad is on the lead role because the Taliban representatives would leave for China from Pakistan. However, what is more important for Afghans is the result of the peace talks and its nature. Afghans are expecting durable peace with dignity, protection of human rights, acceptance of the constitution by the insurgent group, preservation of achievements made in the past 14 years and immediate ceasefire. They are optimistic but not so much as complete details about the first round of direct talks yet to be shared.
Therefore, the Afghan government should keep aspirations of the nation in view when talking to the Taliban in Urumqi. First, the government’s representatives should make sure that the reconciliation process is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led in real sense and other countries are playing role as facilitator only rather than influencing the process. Without doing so the legitimacy of the whole process would come under question, because there is no denying to the fact that some neighboring countries are trying to secure their interests in Afghanistan through the talks and want to control the threads.
Furthermore, it has been decades that violence has made home in the country and Afghans are tired of it. Hence, the government should stress on immediate ceasefire in the second round. China and Pakistan should be asked to pressurize the Taliban if the insurgent group does not agree on ceasefire, because reconciliation process succeeds when warring parties end fighting.
In addition that when the Taliban are seeking guarantors, so should do the Afghan government. The government should seek guarantees that the Taliban would not resume insurgency, accept the constitution, respect human rights, not reverse the gains made since 2001, and allow women to be part of the government. Protection of women’s rights is of utmost importance, because the peace would mean only for the Taliban and high-ranking officials if women were barred from government offices. To safeguard women’s rights, women should have representation in the second round.
Moreover, for successful peace process it is also necessary to ask the Taliban to iron out their internal differences, because there are reports that some Taliban leaders are against the talks. The insurgent group shall be asked to put forward their demands in clear manner and after building consensus. Talks should be clear and inclusive.