By Intizar Khadim
In 1995, the Taliban emerged in Afghanistan and captured 90 percent of Afghanistan by 2000, imposing the Sharia law. Were they really followers of Islam and practiced it in letter and spirit? They answer is clearly a big no.
The Mujahidin government’s failure triggered a civil war that posed a grave threat to the security of Pakistan and the rest of the world. Pakistan and the US subsequently launched the project called Taliban to put an end to the civil war and curb the influence of Russia and Iran in the country.
After massive fraud during the 2014 presidential elections in Afghanistan, in September 2014, an unconstitutional deal to form a national unity government (NUG) has been signed by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. Absence of a functioning security and economic strategy, reckless foreign policy, and weakened diplomacy has resulted in increased foreign interference, massive corruption, poverty, unemployment, and aid reduction, as well as increased casualties, violence, and insecurity in the country.
Since the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani, efforts have been stepped up for peace talks with the Taliban. As a result, Pakistan-brokered discussions between Afghan government and Taliban representatives took place in the hill resort of Murree near Islamabad on July 7. The two sides agreed on a second sit-in after the Eid festival.
The negotiations are expected to lead to a substantive peace process. At the same time, President Ghani warns violence will induce a befitting response from government forces. Given below is a brief of analysis of war and talks going together.
In his Eid message, Taliban’s supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar referred to a number of important points in addition to laying an emphasis on the war. Minimising civilian casualties, claims about the capture of certain areas and projecting a positive image of the insurgent movement are some of the issues he has raised.
The first direct peace parleys in Islamabad on Jul 7 reflects the Afghan government’s seriousness about the reconciliation dialogue. The legitimacy of official statements that insurgent attacks are aimed to give the Taliban leverage during the talks has also been proven beyond doubt.
Afghanistan is one of the few countries in the world which has been suffering from four decades of war and violence at the regional level and even wider conflicts. Millions of people have been killed, maimed or forced to flee. The war has cost the parties involved trillions of dollars.
After the unity government came into being, Afghan leaders, particularly President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, promised a thaw with Pakistan and other countries of the world.His administration has been seeking Pakistan’s support to rein in the Taliban and woo them into reconciliation. The foreign policy of the unity governmentlargely focuses on relations with Pakistan and countries that can effectively help the Afghan peace process.
Of late, there has been talk of new and unlikely alliances being cobbled together in Afghanistan.The one between Balkh Governor Atta Mohammad Noor and 1stVice President Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, as well as other coalitions of the kind, have both positive and negative results.
Noor says the two political heavyweights had set aside old rivalries to combat the Taliban and other insurgent groups in the restive north. This alliance between the Jamiat-i-Islami and Junbish Millie seeks to bring peace and security to the region and push back the enemies.
The Afghan government has been struggling for peace for a decade, but the current talks are doomed to fail if the process is not streamlined. Changes need to happen at multiple levels if there has to be a real chance for peace, including negotiating with the insurgents. All players must be willing to work with -- not against -- each other to see peace have a chance in Afghanistan.