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Opportunity for peace must not go away: Rana Think Tank

By Farhad Naibkhel

KABUL: Riling over vulnerability of the situation in Afghanistan with taking under consideration the peace opportunity that has been created after long years to end war, a number of political pundits who participated in Rana Think Tank monthly session argued that to overcome current insecurity, the latest peace opportunity—that knocks the doors once, must not go away.

They called on the government not to let opportunity for peace to be washed away; also asked the Afghan masses to get advantage from it as with peace there would be durable stability and prosperity.

Finally, peace is within grasp, the political analysts said, hinting toward 16 days Qatar talks between US peace envoy and Taliban negotiating team that recently ended with some progress on counterterrorism efforts, troop’s withdrawal and some other issues.

They called the recent dialogues between them an opportunity to be used as a clue to end 18 years long war in the country.

Touching upon peace process that according to them, world and regional countries favoring it, they called on the government to avoid creating barriers in front of this process.

Afghan masses, Taliban and the US have been pressing for peace, so this must not be spoiled through one or another channels, they asked the government.

They allegedly that the national unity government is hell-bent on sabotaging the peace process in a bid to secure their lasting powers. Political figures say that peace is a long-term dream for all the Afghans so the peace opportunity must be used properly as a tool to political settlement to end the years long conflict.

When US made its mind to continue political dialogues and find a political settlement for Afghanistan’s conflict where already there is some progress, so the government should not disrupt the process, said a political analyst, Barna Karimi, who also served in key government posts during former government, including once as Afghanistan ambassador to Canada.

“Instead to be against the process, the government officials should have come to the fore and use it as an opportunity to achieve a durable peace and stability,” he said.

According to him, if peace prevails during current government, this would be an astonishing and great pride for its officials rather than to be in power for ten more times.

He said in case of negligence from government side, the political and national figures would step up efforts with sole reason to end the war.

Terming Moscow peace talks as a positive step held between Taliban and Afghan political figures—a kind of first intra-Afghan talks, he said this team would depart to Qatar soon, and the government must introduce a new peace team to be acceptable for all, to join the political figures in talks with Taliban.

Protecting fundamental rights of citizens and the republic system is the principle to be seriously considered during talks with the Taliban, he said.

So far all the talks that happened between US and Taliban were issues related to their problems with preserving their interests, he said, adding now other sides of the coin, which is intra-Afghan talks to protect Afghanistan’s interests, would be kicked off.

“There is an immediate need to be involved in the peace efforts and bring end to war inside the country.”

He furthered; “We need a consensus of political and national figures to sit in talks with the US, and the Taliban group to safeguard and defend from national interests of the country.”

However, he lamented that unfortunately the peace process changed to a political phenomenon rather than to a national process.

Coming up with an example, saying some figures say we “want peace”, but stream with some conditions that contain some personnel demands.

Hinting toward Taliban flexibility, he said there is visible change in Taliban’s ideology toward ending war.

Another participant, Wahidullah Shahrani, who was former Minister to the Mine and Industry Ministry, said the National Unity Government should stop creating obstacles ahead of peace process, rather use this opportunity to reach peace.

He said the government should have introduced new peace delegations comprised of national figures to be acceptable for all to participants of the peace process. “This should be through a national frame.”

However, he emphasized over fundamental rights of the citizens and republic system to be protected during dialogues with the Taliban. 

He said that International Community, European Union, and the regional countries must guarantee the peace process in order to have a lasting peace across the country.

The ongoing peace push by US has gained momentum, and recently Zalamy Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation ended his fifth round of talks with Taliban, where both said they reached agreement on drafts.

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