By: Lailuma Noori
US special peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is leading peace talks with the Taliban group in Doha, capital city of Qatar. Previously, Khalilzad had insisted on reduction of violence and ceasefire to reach an agreement with the Taliban group.
Currently, leader of the Taliban group Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada has told representatives of the group in Qatar to talk to US delegation about reduction of violence for a week. The decision is considered as start of building trust between the two sides. Taliban has agreed on reduction of violence for a week in big cities of Afghanistan. Leading body of the Taliban group hopes peace agreement will be signed with the US side within the seven respective days.
Nevertheless, Afghanistan presidential office and chief executive office have different visions in connection with reduction of violence and maintaining of ceasefire in the country.
Chief executive office has said that first reduction of violence should be considered in Afghanistan to pave the way for the intra-Afghan dialogue. But, presidential office says that reduction of violence has no practical perspective. The office has insisted on ending the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the fundamental plan for the peace talks is the maintaining of ceasefire in the country. Now that the Taliban has said yes to reduction violence in the country, why the group does not take a step towards maintaining ceasefire?
Afghan peace affairs experts believe that to end the ongoing war, Taliban should show their intention and determination for the maintaining peace in the country. They say if the Taliban group want to resolve the ongoing dispute through negotiations, they should say yes to ceasefire to open a door for the intra-Afghan dialogue and building trust between the two sides.
Without maintaining ceasefire in the country, peace talks will give no results as ceasefire is a preface for ending the dispute and violence in Afghanistan. It is also considered as a test for both sides to show that they have chosen an option for stopping violence and war in the country.
Also, maintaining ceasefire in Afghanistan is considered as a serious need after signing peace agreement between the US and Taliban sides and before starting the intra-Afghan dialogue; therefore, further work should be done for execution of ceasefire between the US and Taliban sides.
The government of Afghanistan has already clarified that ceasefire could be an option and precondition for ending the ongoing war in the country. It is an option that has been repeatedly raised by the government of Afghanistan, but the Taliban group has rejected the option.
This comes amid of efforts being made by the government of Afghanistan as the country’s National Security Advisor Dr. Hamdullah Mohib in a meeting in New Delhi stressed on maintaining ceasefire by the Taliban group, saying that ceasefire could accelerate the process of lasting peace in the country as the people of Afghanistan seriously want peace in the country.
It is worth mentioning that peace talks between US delegation led by Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators started in September 2018. The talks face with challenge in Sep 2019 when US President Donald Trump declared the talks as dead soon after 12 people including a US service man were killed in a suicide attack in Kabul. The Talks were later resumed in early December of 2019.