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We mustn’t miss opportunity for peace

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KABUL: As the US and Taliban are getting close to forge a peace agreement that can pave the ground for foreign troops draw down and facilitation of direct negotiation between Afghan government and Taliban, a Presidential Palace advisor has said there is a problem with the term “intra-Afghan-talks”, saying that the ongoing situation is not a civil war but a conflict between the government and the Taliban.

Speaking in panel organized by AISS regarding the Assessing Recent Developments in the Afghan Peace Process, the General Advisor for Public and Strategic Affairs to President Ashraf Ghani, Waheed Omer said an inclusive peace process doesn’t mean only including political elites. “An inclusive peace process means to include the people of Afghanistan.’

Omer vowed that government would signify the authority of the peace negotiation team to continue the peace talks with the Taliban. The delegation is compromised of 15 members. “The delegation is discussing the technical issues and decision regarding the peace process may be taken in Kabul.” Omer cited the Afghan government has a clear roadmap for the peace process.

Meanwhile, former deputy foreign minister, Jawid Ludin suggested that the peace negotiation team should be strongly supported by the people. “As every other country, the government must include everyone in such great and important issues.”

However, he expressed frustration about the isolation of Afghans from the peace talks- which have been held for more than 10 rounds between US diplomats and Taliban political officials-, said that current historic peace opportunity should not be missed.

A member of International Cooperation, Barnett Robin said that Afghanistan cannot be stabilized without having proper ties with its neighbors, saying that US cannot remain here forever. “To supply the troops, U.S. needs cooperation of Afghanistan’s neighbors. It has problems with Russia and Iran, so it relies on Pakistan.”

He termed the decision of US troops’ withdrawal as an option to bring peace to embattled Afghanistan.   According to him, the political future of the country is a risk that may jeopardize the Afghan peace process.

The remarks about peace process from several sides come, as the US top negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad is peaking to hammer out a peace deal with the Taliban Qatar-Based Political Office. After almost 12 rounds of talks, the Taliban got agreed to a short-time reduction in violence – a move that can pave the ground for a gradual pull out of American troops and will bring the Afghans on a table for direct negotiations.

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