Editorial

Regional actors shouldn’t sabotage Afghan peace process

For most Afghans, the day when their country wins a dignified peace would be a historic and celebration day. Afghans saw rapid changes in peace efforts in their country in recent years. In early 2018, President Ghani put forward an unconditional peace offer to the Taliban. Over the summer, the Afghan government and Taliban honored their first truce in 17 years of war, albeit only for three days. The U.S. government introduced a special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, tasked with ending the longest war the United States has been involved in its history. Qatar facilitated US and Taliban Talks, where Russia also organized a conference on Afghan peace in Moscow, where the Afghan High Peace Council members and Taliban representatives met.
But despite of intensified efforts for peace in the country, regional competitions increased, and some countries started to utilize the opportunities for their own interests which led to repeated failing of the peace talks. Taliban has time and again used by regional countries, including Pakistan and Russia to achieve their goals in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, after completion of a comprehensive delegation for peace talks with Taliban, the group once again refuted to hold talks with the Afghan delegation. The much-anticipated talks between Afghan politicians, civil society members and other representatives of Afghanistan’s society with the Taliban on issues around the peace process scheduled for April 20-21 was “canceled” due to a “disagreement” by Taliban and the Qatari government on the 250-member list proposed by the Afghan side as Presidential Palace described it in a statement.
The Presidential Palace said in the statement on Friday that the Doha meeting was “canceled” as the Qatar government did not accept the Afghan delegation’s list and instead suggested a new list “which was not acceptable to the Afghan government”.
“After completion of preparations of the delegation for Doha talks, Qatar government sent a new list which was not balanced in terms of involvement of the people of Afghanistan and in other words it was a disrespect to the national will of the Afghan people and this is not acceptable to the people of Afghanistan,” the statement said.
It is true that Afghans are in dire need of peace, but they want a dignified one which bring a durable stability to the war-torn country. Whenever Afghanistan stood a chance of holding talks, a whistle-blower emerged mysteriously and sabotage the plan. Afghans do have a special respect to Qatari government for facilitating of talks between the US and Taliban to ease intra-Afghan dialogues. The government of Qatar shouldn’t take any steps which affect the bilateral ties of the two countries and that Afghans consider them among those trying to sabotage the process for their interests.
Afghan government put all its eggs in one basket to hold talks with the Taliban elements, mainly when Pakistan and other countries extending financial and military supports to Taliban promised to nudge them to the negotiating table. Now Afghans fluctuated between hope and chagrin and sparing no efforts to persuade the Taliban to stop violence and bloodshed.
Meanwhile, it is the responsibility of Afghans, both the government and Taliban, that to take leadership of all peace-building meetings and not allow any third country to invite them for peace talks. Peace process have entered to a critical phase. While direct talks between the United States and the Taliban have further opened the door for peace in Afghanistan, the success of these talks depend how much the Afghan people will be involved in the process and have the ownership of the talks.
International community and regional countries play a critical role, but their role should be only to facilitate the intra-Afghan talks, not to sabotage the process and seek their own interests of continued war and bloodshed in the country.

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