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Politics

Reduction in violence & ceasefire top priorities for Afghanistan negotiating team

By: Lailuma Noori

A government source has told media that US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad had previously promised that with the start of intra-Afghan talks between Afghanistan government and Taliban, a six-month ceasefire to be maintained in the country.
The source added that based on what Khalilzad promised to the government, Taliban will say ‘yes’ to ceasefire in intra-Afghan talks.


Afghanistan negotiating team and people are expecting both side agree on maintaining of ceasefire in the country although it seems Taliban decides to continue their violence until they reach their demands. They consider violence as the best lever for putting pressure and won’t easily let their fighters lay their weapons down as re-cohesion of their fighters seem difficult.
It seems cohesion of both sides’ opposite visions and ideas are a difficult task. On one side, there are strict Taliban stressing on Emirate-e-Islamic, while on the other side, there is a modern and democratic Afghanistan with the two-decade achievements.
A number of Afghan political experts believe that to reach real and lasting peace in the country, it is necessary that international community should be further involved in Afghanistan peace process to get a strong guarantee from the Taliban side, otherwise peace will be fragile and won’t last for long time.
During their talks with Afghanistan negotiating team, Taliban might suggest an interim government in order to work with. Despite Taliban’s tough stance in the past, the group values world legitimacy. When Taliban took power, a number of Islamic countries recognized the Taliban regime that was not able to capture the whole country. Currently, despite the fact that Taliban are claiming the control of some parts of the country, they have not been able to capture the provincial capital of even a single province.
International community and donor countries will never provide assistance and investment to Afghanistan if its future government does not adhere to international human rights standards. Negotiations might last longer until both sides reach agreement on all issues.
Now, opportunities have been provided for both sides to hold face to face talks to end the ongoing conflicts in the country. Taliban should make use of the opportunities and welcome it. Besides, Taliban should show their intention and will for maintaining peace in the country.
If Taliban wants to end the ongoing conflicts and resolve their problems through negotiations, they should say yes to ceasefire as a goodwill gesture.
Afghanistan peace process has entered to a significant phase as negotiating teams of Afghanistan government and Taliban held the first contact meeting the other day in Doha, the capital of Qatar. It is time now that both sides should first agree on a long-term ceasefire, which is the demand of all Afghans.
It is worth mentioning that the intra-Afghan talks finally began yesterday in Doha, the capital of Qatar, with participation of negotiating teams of both Taliban and Afghanistan government.
The opening ceremony of the talks was attended by officials from many nations and international organizations.

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