Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen for VT Kabul
Kabul-based Writer and Political Analyst
Unremitting meetings of ARG (Afghan Presidential Palace) were futile. Eventually, the Afghan politicians gathered round in ex-President Hamid Karzai’s residence and, there, they decided to attend the Qatar Intra-Afghan Dialogue with Taliban in absence of the representatives of Afghan government. The government is accused of thwarting Intra-Afghan Dialogue, thus it introduces anti-peace figures to participate in the peace negotiations, and even some sources report that Prof. Sayyaf, Eng. Hekmatyar and Ustad. Khalili also support the government and oppose negotiations with Taliban in Qatar.
Now, the Taliban have announced their Spring Operations, while the government had already issued order of killing and capturing of Taliban under the Operation Khalid. It also competed against peace talks after the Taliban announcement regarding their operations. The remarks of Afghan NSA in Washington were, undoubtedly, counted as barriers toward peace. And Government tried to create problems, regarding the Taliban-America peace talk and Intra Afghan Dialogue in Moscow, later on in Doha.
Intra-Afghan Dialogue are important as ex-President Karzai, in his interview with Voice of America Ashna TV, told: “our effort is to make the Afghan government to take part in the Intra-Afghan Dialogue in Qatar. I hope and demand that government to do so; otherwise, we cannot stop peace-related struggles, or else it would be a crime and mistake.”
There is a need for separation of Peace Efforts and Government Struggle. In the meantime, Afghan Presidential Candidates have got their distinct demands and sweats. Karzai and some other politicians are supposed to detach peace efforts from the brawls to reach the government, remain in government or extend their power.
There is information that more than ten Presidential Candidates have decided to form a coalition against Afghan President Ghani in order to have him removed from power by May 22, 2019. It is said that UN and US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad are also in favor of these candidates. However, these candidates are working on providing a list of approximately ten figures to US and UN in order, for one of them, to be introduced as head of next interim or caretaker government.
On the other side, President Ghani tries to stay in power even after termination of his term; however, there will be a vacuum created then, which should be consecutively filled by the Speaker of Lower House of the Parliament, where there is practically no Parliament in the country at this time, Speaker of the Upper House of the Parliament (the Senate), where there is only one third (appointed) members of the Senate are available and cannot have legal authority. The Afghan Constitution, then, qualify the Minister of Foreign Affairs to take the power; however, he, himself, is a caretaker minister for now. So, the National Unity Government (NUG) might try to have its term extend through Consultative Peace Loya Jirga (Grand Council of Afghans). In the case, the Grand Council is already boycotted by Chief Executive of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, renowned Presidential Candidate, Hanif Atmar and a number of other Afghan politicians for now. Meanwhile, the Taliban have also asked the Afghan people to boycott the Loya Jirga.
Taliban, however, announced their spring operations in a very critical juncture where names of the Taliban Negotiators became temporarily removed from the UN Black List. The United States, Afghan government and Afghan politicians opposed the Taliban spring operations; though, from my (writer of the article) point of view, Taliban might have announced their spring operations in retort to some occurrences described as following:
- Afghan government had already announced offensive spring operations named “Operation Khalid” against Taliban.
- Hefty US/NATO bombardment, civilian causalities, and arrests of two women in Helmand, could be another important reason that the Taliban might want to rejoinder.
- Adjournment in sixth round of US-Taliban talks and problems and hinders toward Intra-Afghan Dialogue in Qatar.
- As a peace deal is not concluded, so there was a need for the morale of Taliban fighters to be kept high, and that’s why the Taliban might have announced their spring operations.
Here at home, the problem is that the political parties and government do not assent each other’s views. Nonetheless, the government could specify a date for Presidential Elections, but it is not able to introduce a negotiating team for peace talks even in six months.
Nevertheless, there are some developments in US-Taliban peace negotiations; however, there is not any improvement seen in the Intra-Afghan Dialogue as the government is not interested in, and even create barriers toward them.
Afghan government has always insisted that it is ready for unconditional peace talks, but now it talks about its Red Lines in the process. In the case, it breakdowns the Red Lines in the war, but searches for them in the peace.
Arab countries and Indians’ concerns and opposition toward peace process should not be neglected. India does not want Intra-Afghan Dialogue with Taliban, but it yearnings the Taliban to become a part of the government and get integrated into it.
In the end, Ambassador Khalilzad talks about tire of US from Afghan war, and said to NUG leaders: “ you are not the representative of those, who lost their sons in the war”, but Afghan government still insists on war. The voice heard from ARG (Afghan Presidential Palace), the Taliban meeting to be convened in Islamabad instead of Qatar; however, it is a great shame. ARG, and other Afghan political figures that support the government should understand the sensitivity of Afghan people toward peace, and thus it should stop creating barriers in the process.