Presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi on Monday said that recent attacks indicated that the Taliban’s war mindset has not changed, but he stressed that the Afghan government will continue peace efforts, despite the delayed exchange of three Haqqani Network prisoners for two Western professors.
Sediqqi said the attacks have affected the peace process, referring to, among others, a blast in Kabul on Wednesday that killed at least 12 people, including children.
“Our commitment, our will for peace is clear and real. But our opposite side does not have anything except violence, which, unfortunately…affects our people,” he said.
But a member of the High Peace Council, Habiba Sarabi, at an event today featuring public opinion research done by the Public Studies Institute of Afghanistan, said today’s Taliban is no different than the conservative Taliban regime of the 1990s, in terms of mindset.
“The Taliban are those who came in 1996 and captured Kabul. We do not discuss the fact that they were split into different factions. Those who attend the talks are those who have come in contact with the international community,” said Habiba Sarabi, deputy head of the High Peace Council.
The Public Studies Institute of Afghanistan collected the views of 2,600 citizens from 12 provinces. According to researchers, the questions asked covered issues like governance, general improvements in Afghanistan, foreign forces withdrawal, and the results of the peace talks.
Some at the event voiced the opinion that the national priority should be the safeguarding achievements in Afghanistan rather than focusing on the peace deal.
“The prisoner release has not yielded a result, and the Taliban has not treated this matter as important. Under the current situation, the release of the prisoners will complicate the issue instead of helping it,” said Nahid Farid, an MP.
“These achievements can be maintained if our national institutions are kept, and the counterterrorism responsibility is given to Afghanistan in a responsible way, and if the foreign forces withdrawal is made responsibly,” said Jawed Ludin, former deputy minister of foreign affairs.