Turkey meeting on Afghanistan peace process is scheduled to be held in mid-April in Istanbul. The meeting will be held based on the suggestion of Afghan officials, the Taliban and the US.
Although, many analysts consider the meeting as an alternative to the Qatar process, the Turkish officials reject the idea saying it is a complementary to that.
Afghanistan and Turkey have enjoyed a one century good relations. This enables Turkey to play a unique role in the Afghan peace process as both the Afghan government and to some extent Taliban trust Turkey as a mediator.
Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered Friday at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul to oppose further violence in the country and expressed their support to the upcoming UN-led conference on Afghanistan in Turkey.
Those attended the gathering recalled the upcoming summit in Turkey a unique opportunity for peace and said that Afghanistan’s values and gains in the areas of women’s rights, elections, press freedom and democratic principles reflected in the Constitution should be preserved.
Participants at the gathering also called for an immediate end to the war. They call on the warring parties to agree on a permanent ceasefire at the conference. A number of Afghan political leaders, lawmakers and religious dignitaries also attended the gathering.
Afghan government is going to participate in the meeting with full readiness and a comprehensive plan. The plan includes democratic transfer of power and this roadmap is not to accept or reject the plans of others. But it has been developed to ensure tangible achievements in the context of preserving 20 years’ democratic process of the country.
Indeed, peace is something that all Afghans want it because they are tired of more than four decades of war. As a result, it is expected to utilize this opportunity in the best way to push accelerate the settlement of issues.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh in an interview with BBC said that the Afghan government is ready to compromise in talks with the Taliban but “not ready to abrogate the Afghan constitution.
VP Saleh emphasized that the Afghan government and Constitution cannot be sacrificed in the peace process “We are ready for compromise but we do not want the constitution of Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic to be the sacrificial goal for this for a very crude peace process.” VP Saleh stressed that the sacrifice should lead to peace.
Indeed, the Intra-Afghan talks in Doha have not been successful; these talks did not enable the two sides to reach to an agreement on at least the level of violence in the country. As a result, other regional powers are working to make peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The final statement of Moscow conference saying they do not accept the return of the Emirate and calling on the Taliban not to pursue a spring offensive was main achievements of the conference but it did not have a tangible achievement.
Istanbul meeting is a good opportunity for both sides to come to an agreement. Afghan government peace proposal has the potentials to offer a mechanism for sharing the power via elections. However, if Taliban continue the violence in the battle fields in order to make the government and Afghan people surrender, they will be totally wrong; Because Afghan government and people want a dignified peace to preserve their democratic achievements.
Therefore, the international community should make sure that Taliban pursing peace and not playing with it guarantee an agreement to protect Afghan people’s rights and the achievements made so far, including in the areas of freedom of speech, women’s and girls’ rights as well as democratic processes.