By: Suraya Raiszada
Afghanistan government, political parties and countries involved in Afghanistan issues have considered the Istanbul Conference as an opportunity for peace and stability in Afghanistan. With the announcement of date for full US and NATO troops withdrawal from Afghanistan and preparations for the Istanbul Conference, a number of Afghan political experts are stressing that participation of Afghanistan government and Taliban is necessary in the conference.
“Taliban’s decision that it won’t participate in Istanbul Conference can lose the opportunity for peace in Afghanistan,” said Amir Mohammad, an Afghan political expert.
Last week, Taliban in reaction to US announcement for its troops withdrawal from Afghanistan said they would not participate at any peace meetings until complete US troop withdrawal from the country.
Amir Mohammad stressed that participation of representatives of both the Taliban and Afghanistan government was necessary in Istanbul Conference, adding that all preparations have been taken for the conference by the host country and the United Nations.
It is determined that the Istanbul Conference is going to be held on 24 April and will last for 10 days.
Despite of all preparations announced by Afghanistan government for participation in coming Istanbul conference, it has not finalized its negotiating team to attend the conference. On the other hand, Taliban has made clear that it would not participate at any conferences until complete US and NATO troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In consideration to the situation, it is not clear whether the conference will be held or not.
Currently, the United Nations, Turkey, US and Qatar are making effort to convince the Taliban group to participate at Istanbul conference. So far, no sign has seen in position of the Taliban group.
Afghan political experts believe that convincing the group to participate at the conference seems so difficult as the group is somehow declaring victory. In case current efforts being made towards convincing the Taliban group for participation at Istanbul conference fail, the conference won’t be held as holding the conference in absence of the Taliban group is a wasting of time.
“We have a week ahead of Istanbul Conference.
If the Taliban group does not change its position for participation at the conference, a great and historic opportunity that can end the continued war in the country will be lost,” said Jamal Farahmand, an Afghan political expert and civil society activist.
He considered the Istanbul conference as a historic meeting for future destiny of Afghanistan; therefore, losing this opportunity could not be repaired.
For time being, holding the coming Istanbul conference is awaiting the Taliban decision as the UN is not interested in holding a meeting whose main pillar is absent. In the meantime, Turkey won’t host a meeting if not attended by the Taliban group. It is time for powerful countries including the UN to call on the Taliban to participate at Istanbul conference, or the group will face with increasing pressures.