Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, May 2015
Islamabad - Kabul Ties:
Taliban Position and Peace Conferences
By Nazar Mohammad MutmaeenAl-Jazeerah, CCUN, May 18, 2015
Asif Ali Zardari, the former President of Pakistan and co-chairman of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) arrived in Kabul on May 7th, 2015 shortly after the PUGWASH Conference. Meanwhile, chief of the Inter-service Intelligence (ISI) had a secret visit to Kabul, also.
The media that has access to former and present high-ranking officials, after the visits between Asif Ali Zardari and the Pakistani intelligence chief with Afghan officials, on May 8th, 2015 reported that the Taliban's will have face-to-face meeting with the representatives of Afghan government in a third country soon.
It appears that President Ghani's visit to India would have changed his mind, and the promises Pakistan has given about making the Taliban to initiate peace talks with the Afghan government are seeing as they cannot be fulfilled.
As the delegation of Taliban participated on the behalf of Taliban in the PUGWASH Conference, the representative of Afghan government was not accepted by PUGWASH Management and the UN as a result of Taliban gesture. Afghan politicians attended the conference as independents. Likewise, some neighboring countries could not make the PUGWASH leadership and the UN representatives to accept their representatives in this conference. It perhaps increases the distrust between Afghan and Pakistani officials, that’s why Pakistani high-ranking officials attended Afghanistan after each other.
Why Asif Ali Zardari this time?
Why ex-President Asif Ali Zardari attended Afghanistan this time? The trust between Afghan and Pakistani officials seems to be worsening; Asif Ali Zardari would try to decrease the level of this mistrust to some extent.
Also, Asif Ali Zardari had good ties with ex-President Hamid Karzai, and Karzai had criticized Ghani’s policy toward Pakistan and called it as improper; he criticized the Unity government’s policy toward India also. Asif Ali Zardari would be appointed to have an understanding with former President Karzai and, at least, if he could, to change his view toward Pakistan positively.
The visit of Asif Ali Zardari to Kabul was important for that the PPP’s foreign policy is based on having less intervention in other countries interior affairs compare to Muslim League’s foreign policy.
Taliban’s role and participation in Afghanistan-related conferences
Taliban, considering the situation in the country and the weaker position of the National Unity Government (NUG), had gained a lot of benefits from PUGWASH, Japan and France conferences. It seems that Taliban would participate in some other important conferences also, whether they would be held by the UN or they would be hosted by any other country as a result of the UN request; the upcoming conferences would be held in China, Turkey, Arabic countries or any European country.
The Triangle of Pakistan, Taliban and China
The delegations came from Pakistan may have provided the President of NUG with the information of the probable meeting between the Taliban and China, perhaps they would told him the date and place of the meeting, also. In the case, Taliban already has such joint meetings with Chinese. Relations between Taliban and China have started so earlier before that, but some meetings were held by the intercession of Pakistan last year.
The first meeting of Taliban with Chinese officials was in China, and then in Pakistan, after that, the meeting was widely covered by the media. Perhaps, other meetings between Taliban and Chinese officials would be held by the intercession of Pakistan, also; but it does not mean that would be peace negotiations or the Taliban talk with Chinese officials as the request is made by the NUG. However, it is obvious that Pakistan would be benefited a lot from these meetings due to lack of awareness of Afghan politicians, and the credit would be given to Pakistan by the NUG, then.
There is something to be taken care, it is that the media was reporting, and the President Ghani was telling that China would put pressure on Pakistan in order to make the Taliban to initiate peace talks, but Pakistan, before taking office by Ashraf Ghani, has tried to strengthen the ties between the Taliban and China and make them better. Pakistan encouraged china to have their views exchanged and raise the questions and concerns they have with the Taliban, in the case, China was supposed to do the thing Pakistan was doing.
Ties of European countries and Taliban
The relations between the Taliban, the UN and the European countries are getting better, and the three sides call these improvements and ties positive. Considering this point, the other meeting on Afghanistan would be held in a European country, and the Taliban, directly or through the UN, would be invited to these meetings, and Taliban would participant of the conference.
There are some rumors heard from the European countries’ diplomats in Kabul that a meeting would be held in a European country in the upcoming few months; a high-ranking delegation of the Taliban, after it is invited by the UN, would participate in this meeting. Foreign ministers or their representatives of EU and at about 70 other countries would participate in this important conference. Perhaps, the conference would be held in June or July of 2015.
Concerns about Prevention of the Conferences
Sources near to Taliban say that the Taliban were/are ready to participate in international conferences, and share their view and demands with the Afghan nation and international community. Whoever contacted the Taliban, received positive response. PUGWASH is one of these organization that contacted the Taliban through the UN and the Taliban accepted to participate in their conference.
Most of the political analysts, impartial Afghans and the political figures near to the Taliban think that perhaps these independent conferences would be prevented by various domestic and foreign hands, and this series that restarted with the PUGWASH Conference would be delayed/slow down once again.
Taliban Participation and Purpose
If Taliban participate in such meetings and conferences, they would be able to share their view and policy with the world in sidelines of these meetings and they would be able to answer the questions, concerns, accusations and misunderstandings of the international community. They would try to have their relations closed and their ties strengthen with the International Community, and they would show the world that having relations with them are not out of their advantage. Also, the Taliban would express that they want to have good relations with the International Community in the future, also.
Of course, the Taliban participation in the joint meeting of some countries’ foreign ministers would not be facilitated by the intercession of neighborhood countries, but the UN will provide the ground for participation of the Taliban. Now and again, neighborhood countries, after they learn about participation of the Taliban, would try to show the Afghan government that they provided the ground for the Taliban’s participation step by step and they are working on to make the leaders of Taliban to initiate peace negotiations with the Afghan government.
Mistake of President Ghani
President Ghani repeated the peace slogans a lot of times on his campaigns during the Presidential Elections, and even made everyone believe that he is the only person who is able to bring peace in the country. But, the signing of Security Agreement with America, reopening of Bagram Prison, allowing of the Americans forces, there were supposed to withdraw 50% of present US troops the country by 2015, to stay in Afghanistan, doing propaganda for ISIS through negative means, increasing rate of insecurity, insisting on war and using force are the things that has made the nation disbelieve the President Ghani’s promises.
President Ghani was telling his partisans in meetings that he will not repeat the mistakes done by ex-President Karzai, he would treat the neighborhood countries well; but it seems that President Ghani is trapped in the trap in which Karzai was in, by his own wish.
Some political analysts in the country concern that President Ghani would be implementing a part of the plan, which is to no make the Taliban to initiate peace talks; and make the war continued and increase insecurity in the country especially in Northern provinces in order to facilitate the ground for the US to stay in Afghanistan and for the China and Russia to be threatened by America from the North of Afghanistan.
I wish the Taliban and the NUG Leadership to become committed to a truthful peace; prefer the inter-Afghan negotiations and do not make the foreigners to stay in Afghanistan anymore; instead of depending on other countries, they should trust their own Afghan people and Afghan intermediates.
Definitely, it is vital to have neighborhood and other powerful countries guarantee the Taliban peace talks with the US and provide the ground and assure the Taliban peace negotiation with the Afghan government and groups.
Hoping a peaceful, secure and independent Afghanistan
By Nazar Mohammad Mutmaeen
Afghan writer and Political Analyst based in Kabul
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