With commencement of the intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha, the level of violence has unprecedentedly increased in the country. The media report indicates that civilian casualties have dramatically scaled up. The recent roadside explosions, magnetic mine explosions and target killings across the country are some the unambiguous example of the mentioned claim that are being carried out by the insurgents to disrupt the peace talks.
The recent intensification of war and violence in Afghanistan has not only concerned the people of Afghanistan but also the international community and international organizations. The US, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other regional countries as well as the international organizations like UNAMA expressed concerns over systematic attacks on civilians across the country.
Meanwhile, in a bid to remove the barriers before the intra-Afghan talks in Doha, the US peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is on his way to Doha as the two Afghan negotiating teams are struggling to finalize ground rules for talks. Khalilzad in his Twitter account wrote that during his visit he will meet with partners:
“Headed back to Doha and the region to meet with partners on Afghan-owned, Afghan-led peace negotiations and prospects for increased regional connectivity, trade, and development following peace,” Khalilzad tweeted. He also said that the international community and Afghan people are watching and expect the teams to make progress.
“The Afghan people and international community are watching closely and expect the negotiations to make progress toward producing a roadmap for Afghanistan’s political future and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” Khalilzad tweeted.
Indeed, critics have suggested that a mediator might be needed in the negotiations, as the contact groups of both sides of the Afghan peace talks have discussed the rules many times over the last twenty days but have not reached an agreement.
The delay of intra-Afghan talks, intensification of violence with increasing absolute poverty have extremely concerned and disappointed the people. Insecurity, suicide bombings and organized assassinations have intensified since the serious efforts for intra-Afghan talks have started.
The persisting rise of violence can seriously challenge the success of peace talks in the country. The biggest challenge to start negotiations was the release of prisoners, which has now been resolved, with a large number of prisoners released on both sides and the Taliban should not made excuses for the talks to start.
Therefore, there is no other obstacle to start negotiations while it is still delayed. If the Taliban wants peace and political dialogue, why they do not reduce violence showing their goodwill and create more appropriate context for dialogue and efforts to accelerate this process?
Why they do not declare a ceasefire? Why they prepare for large-scale military strikes on districts and provincial capitals? All these moves and the events of recent months have increased the concerns that the Taliban are throwing stones at intra-Afghan talks and providing opportunities for opponents of the peace process by spreading violence. Now it is the time for Pakistan, US and other Afghan government’s allies to put pressures on the Taliban to avoid delaying the process and join the talks with guanine intension.