The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Peace process back on track

Release of Taliban prisoners stalled over ‘disagreements’ 1280x720

The Afghan government and the Taliban held a “virtual” meeting on prisoners release on Sunday, officials said, as quoted by the media, offering some hope of a breakthrough on a matter that has deadlocked the two sides and jeopardized a nascent peace process.
An impasse over the method of release for Taliban prisoners had stalled talks amid a sharp increase in Taliban attacks against government forces in different provinces.
The Afghan government initially refused to release any prisoners at all, but later committed to a phased and conditional release of the 5,000 prisoners promised in the US peace deal with the Taliban signed in Doha on February 29. But the group has demanded all prisoners are released in one go.
The prisoner swap was initially supposed to take place before the start of inter-Afghan peace negotiations, originally set for March 10, but couldn’t take place due to differences in both sides.
Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in the capital Kabul on Monday amid a raging Taliban insurgency and rising coronavirus cases – all of which further threaten an already-floundering peace process.
The political chaos in Kabul has further complicated Peace process, as President Ghani’s former chief executive, Dr. Abdullah also claiming the presidency following last September’s disputed election. The impasse and continued fighting along with the world’s preoccupation with coronavirus have sparked fears too that the window for a peace deal is closing fast.
Amid ongoing efforts for peace in the country, the Afghan officials and political leaders try to form a negotiating team to start peace talks with the Taliban leadership, which pledged to sit with the Afghan official representatives across the table after signing deal with the United States. The intra-Afghan dialogue was slated to start earlier, but political upheaval, emerged in the wake of Afghan presidential elections, and disagreement between officials and political leaders delayed the talks. 
Afghan people and government has time and again said that will not accept the Taliban’s Emirate, under which the people of Afghanistan suffered severely and their fundamental rights – their rights to life, liberty, and property – were violated to a great extent. To this end, Afghans will support the peace talks “not at any cost” but only if the Taliban integrate into the system and reconcile their mindset with the current constitution. 
The notion Afghans have about the Emirate is a system where gender discrimination curtails women’s freedoms, violates their rights, and restricts their social, political, cultural, and economic activities.
In such a system, the past achievements will be at stake and democratic principles will have no room. That is, achievements regarding human rights, mainly women’s rights, and democratic principles will backtrack if emirate is established. Worst from all, if the Taliban resume their past practices, be it under emirate or any other system, civil unrest is likely to resurface.  
Prior to all such discussion, it is essential for the Afghan politicians to reunite and work for the stability in the country and welfare of the Afghan people. There shouldn’t be foreigners to mediate in all Afghan affairs, but Afghan, themselves, should decide about their future and do not allow conspiracies and others to talk about their future and decide their destiny.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.