In the wake of ending of 7th round of talks between US delegation led by Special Representation of the US State Department on Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban as well as 3rd round of talk between Taliban and the Afghan politicians from government, civil society, political parties media, women in Doha, the royal capital city of Qatar, certain optimisms had appeared that as if talks result in conclusion step by step and peace is eminent.
As usual, expressing optimism on the outcomes of this round of talks, Khalilzad wrote in his Twitter page that have achieved good progress and according to him, 7th round was rich with achievements and both sides positions have been closer to each other.
Immediately after the concluding of the 7th round of talks, Khalilzad traveled to Beijing to attend the quadrilateral talks of US, Russian Federation, PRC and Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
As a result of the meeting the participants announced that the four sides have concluded that intra-Afghani talks with the participation of Afghan government, other Afghans and Taliban must be held as soon as possible. The Afghans should meet and agree on a peace plan for Afghanistan.
Khalilzad added, we agreed on quick start of intra-Afghan talks among the Taliban, other Afghans and the Afghan government.
These talks should culminate in possible shortest time to formation of a peace framework including an inclusive and acceptable program for political future.
Media interpreted Khalilazd statements in this way that beginning of direct talks between the government and Taliban is eminent and these two sides would meet each other as the two main disputing factions, peace process has entered a new phase, problems will be dissolving one after other and peace would be implemented.
Quoting NSA Hamdullah Mohib, media have recently reported that next round of intra-Afghani talks would be held soon.
Prior to this, addressing the media, presidential spokesman Seddiq Seddiqi had said that a new delegation will be appointed by government for talks with Taliban.
Seddiqi had added that the NUG welcomes every move and gesture to calumniate in peace in Afghanistan and an elementary agreements is possible prior to September with Taliban.
Despite of these optimisms, there are certain challenges, ahead too that cause problem in the way of expected results of peace in Afghanistan. These challenges could be divided in two parts:
1- Challenges emanate from the position of foreign countries on current war in Afghanistan: Despite of certain optimisms on position of Pakistan on Afghan peace, no positive sign of sincere change in Pakistan policy has been seen for end of war in Afghanistan and contrary, opinions have been expressed that Pakistani government is intending to recruit, arrange and organize to ISIL dissident forces, from Taliban reconciliation with government.
So, if Taliban reach a peace agreement with the Afghan government, they would continue the war against the Afghan government.
There are guesses and suspicions that exploiting different ways and means, the Pakistan government is intending to sabotage the Afghan peace talks and secretly is involved to fail them.
2- Challenges that emanate from Taliban position: No sign has been seen that Taliban are ready for talks with the Afghan government as a legitimate and legal body at national and international level. In contrary, this group has always been reiterating that doesn’t recognize the Afghan government, and is not ready for talks with it. Taliban have always said that prefer to talk with the USA.
Although Taliban have changed their literature on basic issues relevant to now and future of Afghanistan. Apparently they have shown flexibility on a number of issues including governance related issues, but still their position is confusing and ambiguous on new values, citizens’ rights, share of women in relevant processes of our people national life, civil liberties including freedom of speech and free circulation of information among social layouts…etc.
On this question that whether Taliban accept republic and democracy and the kind of post-reconciliation system is Republican or emirate, don’t talk frankly and make excuse that Islamic System should rule in Afghanistan, want to rescue themselves. Taliban keep silence on continuation of current system that either has Islamic suffix or governs according to Sharria and its laws are based on Islamic Jurisprudence.
All these issues cause increasing concerns with people and lead the peace talks towards further complication and create thousands questions with public opinions.
People ask, to which direction this process is heading, ask Afghan negotiators to provide details and rescue the people from confusion.
People don’t believe that these talks behind iron curtains would produce expected outcomes or result in reliable nationwide peace and end of wars, or would gift a peaceful life to Afghans until Pakistan is in our neighborhood.