The Taliban said that have freed a second batch of Afghan forces prisoners on Thursday as part of a swap with the Afghan government aimed at opening much-awaited peace talks between Afghan warring sides.
The move came after Afghan government freed more than 300 prisoners of Taliban militants. But the group’s claim later rejected by the Afghan government officials, saying the prisoners were all civilians and they are yet to verify the identities of them.
The prisoner exchange is part of the landmark February 29 deal the United States sealed with the Taliban in Qatar to seek a negotiated settlement to the war, now in its 19th year. The peace-building agreement requires U.S.-led foreign forces to gradually withdraw from Afghanistan by July 2021, which would end Washington’s longest overseas military intervention.
In return, the Taliban would not attack foreign troops and would prevent the use of Afghan soil for international terrorist attacks. It is also obliged to open direct talks with other Afghan government to negotiate a permanent cease-fire and a power-sharing arrangement.
But the peace process suffered setbacks as the militant group continued to attack Afghan forces as well as because of differences over how to move forward with the prisoner swap and a political crisis stemming from the disputed September 28 Afghan presidential election.
Incumbent President Ashraf Ghani was officially declared the winner of the polls last month, but runner-up Abdullah Abdullah rejected the outcome as fraudulent.
Meanwhile a number of countries, including the US, Russia, EU and Afghanistan’s neighbors have time and again emphasized on political settlement of the Afghan issues, asking politicians to overcome differences and lead a unified delegation for talks with Taliban.
As COVID-19 badly threatening the Afghanistan situation, it is of immense important for political leaders and Taliban militants to join hand for fight against the fatal disease and help build the war-torn country.
War and violence caused bottomless tragedy and huge negative impacts on society and individuals throughout the history in a way that finding an approach for reintegration, economic growth and sustainable peace across the nations need more attention.
Afghanistan is one of the countries that experienced forty years of fractional war and ethnic conflicts. At the time, it is one of the fragile countries in South Asia. Decades of civil war and internal conflicts caused a huge cost on economy and instigated high level of distrust among the populations and key political actors.
Peace is the most pleasant word in Afghanistan’s literary context. So far, many charming sentences were written, statements delivered, enhancement activities and seminars held, textbooks printed, many resources have been invested on peace building which included the establishment of High Peace Council.
From 2002 till present peace has been discussed, pondered upon, taught and studied in many ways and many aspects and today peace is the greatest and highest goal. Every Afghan, including the rich, the poor, men and women, wishes to achieve personally and expects to be settled in the country soon.
Therefore, the Taliban should ignore their masters’ orders and think for rebuilding of the country and welfare of a national that still bearing the brunt of war. Their double game with peace process won’t bear any result, rather further devastation of the country.