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A peace deal needs patience, ‘backpedaling’ on red lines

Continuity of international support now hinges on preservation of the republic government as allies have stated. Our democracy is at stake, so is a lifeline foreign aid

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: After almost two decades of conflict and hundreds of thousands of civilian and military casualties, the Afghan government and the Taliban have finally started peace negotiations to put an end to their war. With substantial ideological divergences and fundamental political differences, a lot seems to be at stake. Afghanistan government is facing a hardline Taliban in its quest for peace. The fate of a nation, democracy and freedom – which were nonexistent in the 1990s rule of the Taliban – now lies in their hands.

Political pundits advise patience to be exercised by both sides, believing that the government and the Taliban would better relent on their red lines and grab this historic opportunity for a durable peace and stability.

Both the government and the Taliban have red lines. But, we can’t hope for a promising outcome of peace talks if neither side backs down or relents on their red lines and make a compromise, said political analyst Ahmad Saeedi.

In my opinion, the U.S. would be pressuring both negotiating sides to backpedal on their red lines. It will not produce an immediate outcome, he said. Negotiating a cessation of fighting or even a reduction of violence is difficult because war is the only achievement of the Taliban and they would not probably stop their violence immediately, he added.

Peace talks is a historic opportunity for Afghanistan, said political pundit Shahzada Masoud, urging all negotiating sides to exercise patience and forbearance for the sake of the people and peace.“A growing regional and global support for intra-Afghan peace talks indicates a solidified consensus at international level for peace in Afghanistan,” he said, calling for a further involvement of Russia in trust building of the peace process.

Mr. Masoud said the Afghan government and the Taliban should respect the nation’s demands and agree on a ceasefire and reduction of violence.

Afghanistan’s position on maintaining its democratic republic government has reverberated globally with European Union now saying that their future support hinges on preservation of democratic and republic values. EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs JosepBorrellin a recent phone conversation with President Ghani has said that EU’s support for Afghanistan will depend upon preservation of values of republic. He even announced a future visit to Afghanistan ‘at a suitable opportunity’ to announce support for republic and Afghanistan’s end state.

The first-ever peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban has been kicked off in Qatar Saturday, where likely today the talks will be started between Afghan government and the Taliban delegation. The intra-Afghan talks started following release of prisoners by both sides, particularly releasing of over 6,000 Taliban prisoners by the government of Afghanistan as well as the shadow of the deal has been reached between USA and the Taliban in February resulted to the Afghan government and the Taliban negotiation team start talks. The commencement of Intra-Afghan talks was warmly welcomed and supported by different region and world countries as well as by all Afghans and the people of Afghanistan urges both sides to keep patients to lead the talks to a positive result, ceasefire and a durable peace in the country.

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