Kabul Tomorrow Unknown
Kandahar Tomorrow Sunny
Herat Tomorrow Unknown
Mazar-i-sharif Tomorrow Unknown
Ghazni Tomorrow Sunny
Jalalabad Tomorrow Sunny
Bamiyan Tomorrow Sunny
Zaranj Tomorrow Sunny
Mimana Tomorrow Sunny
The Killid Group
Doubts on Peace Council's Real PowerWritten by Killid Commentary
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 12:27
The High Peace Council mandated by the National Consultative Peace Jirga held in June this year has been established, its chairman chosen and its first meeting already held. But how much power does the Council really have? Caught between conflicting interests it appears unlikely that the Council will make much headway.
Though the Council has begun its work and held its first press conference it is not clear yet how much authority the council has and to what extent it can negotiate with the Taliban. Redlines for the process which should have been specified in advance have not been set.
The Afghan government has no specific proposition for peace with its enemy, but has engaged in a complicated process regardless of the demands made by the other side. The government appears to think it can resolve this complicated international and regional issue by releasing Taliban prisoners, removing their names from Security Council black list and making rhetorical appeals.
However the Taliban have a clear cut position and that is the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and the transformation of the current administration. They have reciprocated the invitation from the government with suicide bombings. Soft words from Karzai and his supporters will not bring any change in the insurgency.
While the Afghan government has established the Peace Commission to lure Taliban into negotiations, the U.S. has deployed 130,000 soldiers in Afghanistan at the cost of half a billion dollars per day and high risk to the soldiers. Yet Karzai and his U.S. allies do not appear to have coordinated this strategy as evidenced from the recent remarks of the U.S. Special Representative on Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke. He announced publicly that redlines must be set for the peace process as the U.S. has strategic interests in Afghanistan. The Taliban, he said, must renounce Al Qaeda, lay down their weapons and accept the Afghan Constitution.
A comparison of the position of the U.S. and the Taliban shows how hostile the two sides are towards each other. The Taliban will not come to the negotiating table until the foreign troops have pulled out while U.S. strategic interests include at least 5 long-term military bases inside Afghanistan.
At this point, the Afghan government and the High Peace Council can neither provide a positive assurance to the Taliban on its demands and nor can they convince the U.S.
How the High Peace Council will overcome this dilemma cannot be fathomed at this point. The Taliban are also unable to independently engage in the peace process without consulting the Al Qaeda and ISI. Under the current circumstances, neither the ISI nor the Al Qaeda sees their interests in the peace process and nor will they comply with it. In fact, if the Taliban were to accept the pre-conditions set for reconciliation, then what was the need for the fighting and bloodshed of the past years? Rather the Taliban have shown that they are unwilling to compromise as even during their worst days they did not compromise with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of the Hizb-e-Islami.
Taliban believe any law under the Sharia is a sin and therefore they cannot accept the Afghan Constitution. Those who have lived through the Taliban rule in Afghanistan even for one day know how incompatible the Taliban mindset is with the demands laid down by Holbrooke. The Taliban have intensified their fighting showing they are not ready to accept these demands. Since they believe it is the NATO and U.S. and not the Afghan government which calls the shots, they are likely to ignore the government.