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Men wearing facemasks as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus walk past a wall painted with images of US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R), in Kabul April 5, 2020. (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR / AFP) (Photo by WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Peace process concerns after U.N. report

By Sarah Farjam

After 18 months of negotiations and almost 20 years of war, a historical agreement was signed between United States and Taliban at the end of February which provided a glimmer of hope for putting an end point to unending war of Afghanistan, eventually.

But the fear now appears greater than the hope. At 2, June, 2020 the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team published the annual report to the U.N. Security Council, in which, it uncloaks that Taliban still has close links with Al-Qaeda despite the U.S-Taliban peace agreement.

Al-Qaeda is a terrorist group who came to Afghanistan, alongside of many other extreme terrorist groups in 1979 to fight against USSR(Soviet Union). After 10 years of fighting when Soviet Union left Afghanistan, another radical group(Taliban) take over Afghanistan for more than 5 years and created a strong bond with different terrorist groups, especially with Al-Qaeda.

After the recognition of Osama bin Laden(former leader of Al-Qaeda) as the real guilt of 9/11 terroristic attacks which killed nearly 3000 people, the president of U.S. government George W.Bush declared Al-Qaeda as the main reason that America should enter Afghanistan and fight against terrorism.

“Our war on terror begins with Al-Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated ” _ said the president Bush.

But now, the U.N. report explains many evidence and statistics that clarifies the amount of Al-Qaeda’s members in Afghanistan and provinces of training. Moreover, it displays that how Taliban played two different role in peace deal scenario with America&Afghanistan and Al-Qaeda.

According to the U.N. report, Al-Qaeda’s current leader Al-Zawahiri met with Taliban to discuss about the provision of safe heaven for Al-Qaeda members inside Afghanistan and also to consult with them about the peace process.

Moving forward, the U.N. report analyses that, Taliban does not have much willingness to carry out counter-terrorism action against Al-Qaeda and start intra-Afghan negotiations to reach a permanent ceasefire.

After publication of this report, many concerns and questions raised ; What would be the future of Afghanistan’s war, if peace process fall dawn? Will Afghanistan become a safe heaven as Yeman for Al-Qaeda leaders?

However, both the U.S. Special Representative (Zalmay Khalilzad) and Spokesman of Taliban(Sahil Shaheen), refuted the report and addressed it as spoiling the peace process piece. But report indicates the opposite and condemns Taliban for not being honest with peace agreement main point — not to allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any other country.

At the crucial time, while Afghanistan is facing to a new wave of Coronavirus, Afghan people afraid more for peace fall dawn, than a pandemic. We are afraid of being killed in hospitals, mosques, public places, front lines of war once again. We are afraid of entering in a new phase of war with another precarious terrorist group.

Whatever, we accept the prisoner exchanges even if it seems unfair, we prepare ourselves to forgive Taliban for the sake of peace. But we can’t imagine losing our optimism after signing of US-Taliban peace agreement as the only viable option for Afghanistan’s peace process future.

As an Afghan youth who had arisen in war, I count the announced days of ceasefire from Taliban, as the most peaceful days of my life. I can’t believe falling dawn mine and my people dreams once again. Now, regardless to everything, I am waiting for an acceptable result in intra-Afghan negotiations beginning. It considers as mine and my people last hope!

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