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The Killid Group
Peace Council; little hopeWritten by Killid
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 15:48
The long-awaited High Peace Council expected to initiate the move towards negotiations with the insurgents has been established finally by President Hamid Karzai but the step holds little hope towards an eventual peace.
Though the names of the council were yet to be announced at the time that Killid went to the printers, we were able to ascertain the names of some of the 50-60 members.
The list includes some of the former Taliban leaders such as Mullah Muttawakeel, Arsalan Rahmani, Musa Hotak, Abdul Hakim Mojahid and Habibullah Pozay. Masoom Stanakzai, will head the secretariat of this council. Key is the issue of who will be the political chair of this council and the names of former Afghan presidents Sibghatullah Mojaddedi as well Burhanuddin Rabbani have been mentioned.
However, given the current names on the Council it seems very unlikely that the Taliban will endorse the move or participate in any way. The members of the Peace Council are the jihadi leaders who were battling the Taliban and have been responsible for many of the deaths in the insurgent group, and the insurgents call these leaders "the axis of evil and corruption". There has been no dramatic change in the Taliban stance towards these leaders.
The Taliban have also not responded to any previous moves by the Afghan government towards peace negotiations, arguing instead that withdrawal of foreign troops and implementation of the Sharia law are fundamental preconditions to any peace talks.
On the other hand, within the international community, the United States, which is the Afghan government's main financial, military and economic supporter, has also not supported this process seriously.
Critical to any peace negotiations is the role of Pakistan which is unlikely to allow any Taliban leader or commander to participate without being approved by the Pakistani Intelligence Service, ISI.
The High Peace Council has been set up at a time when the Taliban is growing in its strength and increasing the area under its domination, a reason why it is confident about rejecting any peace moves from the government.
The U.S. understands that the Taliban are unlikely to join hands with the current government which they view as corrupt and inefficient. Reconciliation will be possible only when there is a change in the Afghan government and the Taliban is weakened enough to force it to the table for negotiations. Until then setting up of councils, jirgas and commissions will yield little.