President Ashraf Ghani’s Special Representative for Regional Affairs for Consensus on Peace Mohammad Umer Daudzai said on Wednesday that there was the possibility that direct talks between government and the Taliban would start in the next few months.
Addressing an Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission conference, Daudzai said people will soon witness direct negotiations.
“From today up to a few months, we will witness direct negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban and that is the main negotiation,” said Daudzai.
Daudzai, who is also the organizer of the planned grand consultative jirga for peace, said the jirga will be held overfour days - from 17 March to 20 March – and that participants will share views around peace talks. He said based on the discussions, the jirga could be extended.
“The jirga’s opening date is scheduled for 17 March and will end on 20 March. But if the discussions continue, it will be extended,” said Daudzai.
He also said at least 30 percent of the participants will be women.
Following President Ashraf Ghani’s announcement about the jirga, a number of legal experts said the jirga’s consultations are not obligatory and that the president can accept them or not.
Pointing to this, Ainuddin Bahaduri, the secretariat of Afghanistan’s Lawyers Union said specific mechanisms should be sought in order for the jirga’s executive to make decisions.
“We need a specific legal and lawful mechanism to define the consultative jirgas’ decisions on whether they are obligatory or not,” said Bahaduri.
The High Peace Council also says that the jirga will be organized by a non-government commission that will have 50 members who will not be selected by the government.
“We have formed a non-government commission. From around 50 people who are members of the commission, none of them represent the government. There are people from political and civil addresses, but still, the commission is not completed,” said Daudzai.
A university lecturer, Nasrullah Stanikzai, however, said there are ambiguities about the commission being non-government. He said the government will have an influence on appointing members of the commission.
“There is ambiguity about the selection of the 50 members. They should have thought about a selection procedure. Now it is very difficult to completely avoid appointment by government,” said Stanikzai.
The High Peace Council says that the consultative jirga will form a national consensus on peace talks.
Ghani on February 11 called for the Jirga in order to hear the views and opinions of people about peace talks with the Taliban.