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peace in Afghanistan, at what price

Peace in Afghanistan – At What Price?

Possibilities of negotiation with Taliban have given rise to optimism in Afghanistan but, at the same time, they have raised concerns about the achievements of the last 18 years and the future of peace. Will the peace be a lasting peace, and will it result in progress and development for the people of the country?
During the three decades of the imposed war in Afghanistan, this country suffered a lot of human and financial losses, and the war in this country as a murderous and destructive giant has always victimized its people. There is no doubt that peace is the long-standing dream of the people of Afghanistan and peace and tranquility in the shadow of stability is the most important concern and goal of human life. Therefore, any effort and action to achieve peace is valuable and useful, but the main question is what price should be paid to achieve peace?
The Government of Afghanistan has stated that it is willing to negotiate with the armed opposition only if the conditions of the opponents are based on accepting the ten-year achievements of the so-called democratic system, the Constitution, human rights, women’s rights and rejection of violence. The armed opposition must accept the complete break-up of ties with terrorist groups before the start of negotiations.
On the other hand, it can be seen that the Taliban do not accept any of these demands of the government. As a matter of fact, they do not consider the Afghan government legitimate. They have kept on calling it a ‘puppet government’ installed by the US. So, it seems unlikely that Taliban may accept preconditions by the government to start intra-Afghan talks. However, it is important to see what Taliban would say if such conditions are put forward by the negotiation team, which is not necessarily the representative of Afghan government. Thus, it is more important that the negotiation team supported by the government must be all-inclusive and must represent the people of Afghanistan as a whole, not only the government.
On the other hand, it can be seen that Taliban have also set preconditions for reconciliation, including a complete change of political system, the complete withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, and a return to the traditions and principles of the Taliban regime. Will the Afghan government accept these preconditions and enter into talks?
Is such a peace possible in principle? And is the price of peace in Afghanistan to forget all the achievements of the new system? Certainly, the people of Afghanistan have not sought and will not seek such peace, so it is necessary that the peace process be fully transparent and all inclusive.
Moreover, for Taliban it is also vital that they do not set any pre-conditions to talks, because that would further complicate the situation. It is not possible to reverse the history of Afghanistan; neither any such system that used to be practiced by Taliban can be practiced now; therefore, they have to be flexible and stop reiterating their demands before talks start.
The current government in Afghanistan may not be fully representative of the people; neither can Taliban claim to represent the people as a whole. At the same time, it can be said that the current republican system in Afghanistan may have many flaws, but there cannot be any other alternative except bringing changes to the same system, instead of striving to establish Taliban’s version of Shariah law. A political system that has a decentralized arrangement with proper representation to the Taliban in the provinces where they deserve seems the most suitable option at the moment. Therefore, both the Afghan representatives and Taliban must strive for the same, not for the impossible. In addition, in peace negotiations, protecting human rights and democracy must be prioritized. Peace without respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law is not sustainable.
(Sahar News)

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