By: Suraya Raiszada
As direct peace talks between US delegates led by Zalmay Khalilzad and representatives of the Taliban group have been cancelled by US President Donald Trump, European Union Special Envoy for Afghanistan says ceasefire between the Taliban and Afghanistan government is the only option to reach peace and end the ongoing violence in Afghanistan.
In his recent remarks regarding resumption of peace talks with the Taliban group, EU special envoy for Afghanistan said peace talks between US and Taliban should continue until they reach final agreement.
“EU is calling for ceasefire in Afghanistan,” said Roland Kobia, EU special representative for Afghanistan.
He stressed that peace talks should be transparent and all achievements of the people of Afghanistan including the rights of minorities, youth and women should be protected in the peace process.
He also asserted that EU member countries were supporting the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and stressing on presence of Afghanistan government in peace talks.
This comes after US, Germany, Britain, India, China and Russia stressed on ending violence in Afghanistan and had considered ceasefire as the only way for reaching peace in the country.
Meanwhile, Afghan political experts believe that Taliban could pave a better way for peace in the country if the group accepted and implemented ceasefire in peace negotiations, but unfortunately the group by rejecting ceasefire and holding direct talks with Afghanistan further fueled violence in the country.
“Ceasefire is a positive step towards resuming peace talks, but supporters of the Taliban group do not want the group to join the Afghan peace process,” said Amir Mohammad, an Afghan expert.
He added that the proposed ceasefire could pave the way for direct peace talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan government as Afghans wanted the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
“One of the examples which is considered as a good opportunity for the Taliban group is the issue of ceasefire as members of the group were able to meet members of their families during ceasefire executed between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group on Eid days last year,” Amir Mohammad stressed.
Jamal Farahmand, another Afghan political expert, says the Afghan people are tired of the continued war in the country and seriously need to live in a peaceful environment; therefore, ceasefire can put positive impacts and open the door for direct talks between Afghanistan government and the Taliban group.
“Afghanistan government should work on a mechanism that can convince Taliban for the intra-Afghan dialogue as it seems a number of members of the group have been tired of the continued war. Besides, the government should wisely keep ANDSF ready to defend the people and country as the group should not be trusted,” Farahmand said.
Meanwhile, executive director for Afghanistan Civil Society Forum says the people of Afghanistan want peace, but peace can be maintained only when human rights are observed. “The people of Afghanistan have key role in bringing peace to the country. That is right that ceasefire is one of ways for starting peace negotiations, but a one-sided ceasefire cannot bring peace to the country,” said Aziz Rafiyee, executive director for Afghanistan Civil Society Forum. It is worth mentioning that representatives of 34 provinces in Peace Consultative Jirga held by Afghanistan government had stressed on permanent ceasefire in the country and considered it as positive step for the ongoing peace efforts in the country.