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Will next US, Taliban talks lead to progress

By Maomjan Masomy

Although, the U.S. and Taliban representatives have been faced three times with each other in Doha and Abu Dubai meetings during last four months to seek solution for the Afghanistan’s long term conflict.However, the Afghan national unity government was not part of these meetings, and it is still not determined to be part of peace negotiations. But, during these three meetings, the first perseverance was on Afghan-Led owned negotiations from Zalmay Khalilzad, special representative of U.S. for Afghanistan reconciliation, and the Taliban representatives focused on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan instead of to start peace talks with Afghanistan national unity government. On the contrary, the Afghanistan National government under the leadership of president Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has been repeatedly preferred Afghan-Led owned peace talks with Taliban without any conditions, as he expressed it in Kabul process on February, 2018. So, the same way U.S. also supports the Afghan national unity government stance that first peace talks should be held between Afghan government and Taliban which can lead all involved sides to forward practical acts.

As there has not been any remarkable progress so far between U.S. and Taliban representatives to pave the ground to an acceptable settlement and, to create reliable atmosphere in which all involved sides come up with honest and dignified peace in country to put an end to the forty years’ war. But, then, looking at the last three meetings between U.S. and Taliban representatives – there are extensive optimistic as well. Especially, the ultimate one which lasted for six days in Doha’s office of Taliban where both sides had exchange discussions according to media reports; and finally agreed to hold another meeting on 25 February, 2019.

Hence, it is much needed that the Afghan national government has to work out stoically and precisely,to build common understanding internally with people from every walks of life for making national consensus regarding devised peace. As president Ghani told to youth advisory conference from all Afghanistan two weeks ago: “peace key is in Kabul, we want a devised peace no to repeat former experiences which the country turned into home wars”. President Ashraf Ghani indirectly pointed out to Dr. Najibullah regime when he left the power to Mujahedin and they torched the country in home wars. Meanwhile, Taliban should encompass Afghans hopes and country priorities in negotiations agenda based on national interests and values, so, only Afghans pay high price of the ongoing war.

On the other hand, regional countries like Pakistan, Russia and Iran try to seek their ownaims in Afghan peace process which can face the ongoing peace talks with fail in case of regional competitions.

The Moscow meeting between Taliban and Afghan political parties’ leaders including ex-president Hamid Karzai, which held in Moscow last week, was good that they had exchange ideas and discussions about peace. These kind of meetings can reach all afghan sides to make everyone committed to a permanent peace and stability in Afghanistan, but there was no any higher official invited on behalf of Afghanistan national unity government to participate in, which provoked doubts in Afghanistan, it was reacted seriouslyby Afghan government, and showed that the participants of the meeting cannot represent of Afghan government nor have executive power to decide about peace process. In addition, the regional challenges are considerable to pay an exclusive attention, as Zalmay Khalilzad traveled to different countries including Russia and china for creating common understanding about Afghan peace process.

Now, Zalmay Khalilzad special representative of U.S. for Afghanistan reconciliation, has been started out his fourth trip for peace talks to the region. It seems that U.S. is committed to end the war in Afghanistan, so, Khalilzad has been accelerated to peace talks with Taliban. He told in America peace institute a few days ago that he is hopeful to sign an agreement with Taliban before Afghanistan presidential elections which will take place in July. Meanwhile, Taliban in a declaration to media, has appointed new 14 people high-ranking negotiations team to talk on behalf of Taliban Emirates with U.S. about peace process.

Afghan national unity government is not still of the current peace talks, but Zalmay Khalilzad motivates Taliban to bring them negotiations table with Afghan government to pave the way to upcoming practical steps. Besides, the Afghan government, Afghan political leaders, civil societies activists and international community prefer Intra-Afghan talks.

Hence, the fourth time meeting between Taliban and U.S. might be optimist. As special Zalmay Khalilzad is on his 18 days’trip to Europe and Asia. In meantime, Taliban has been invited by Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan where both sides will meet on February 18, 2018 in Islamabad – it is apparently meddling in Afghanistan affairs from Pakistan like recognizing Taliban Emirates as a formal group.The talks in Islamabad and following in Doha, Qatar could expose next results between U.S. and Taliban representatives in which Taliban might show flexibility and interest to start Intra-Afghan peace talks with Afghan government and reach a better agreement with U.S. representative to close to the important negotiating steps. It is a great opportunity ofpeace for Afghanistan as well as for the entire region. The opportunity of peace should not be wasted, if wasted the war will be increased as a speedy in Afghanistan to expand its waves outside the country and put massive negative impacts on entire region.

Maomjan Masomy a researcher in Journalism Institute at Afghanistan Academy of Sciences and writer of social, economic and political issues of the region

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