Kandahar police chief general Abdul Raziq has said that several Taliban leaders and commanders are expected to join the peace process in the near future.
He said recently up to 20 Taliban leaders and commanders joined the peace and reconciliation process in Kandahar city, adding that there is hope that more Taliban commanders and leaders would choose the same path.
When asked about the role of the High Peace Council (HPC) in the talks, Raziq said the tribal elders helped mediate peace negotiation talks with these Taliban leaders who finally agreed to endorse the peace process.
“We had established contact with these Taliban elders and assured them that they would not face any problems if they denounce war and we told these commanders that they can live anywhere they want,” said Raziq.
He said local officials in Kandahar established contact with the Taliban in Afghanistan and in Pakistan to persuade them to join the peace process.
Many of these Taliban were motivated to join the peace process and the reconciled Taliban leaders and commanders now live peacefully in government-controlled areas in the province, confirmed Raziq.
“The individuals who have ended the war are among key Taliban officials including some (former) governors, commanders and even ministers, a few are members of the Taliban’s Quetta Council,” he stated.
“These individuals are local residents and some of them are Taliban commanders who served in the Taliban ranks and joined us through the mediation of tribal leaders; the high peace council did not have any role in the process,” added Raziq.
Meanwhile a number of political commentators have said that the relations between the Taliban and the Pakistani government have worsened and now the Taliban has no option but to endorse peace talks with the government in Kabul.
“Currently there is tensions between the Taliban and Pakistan and they have lost trust in each other and the Taliban has realized this fact, so the government should take advantage of the opportunity,” said political analyst Hekmatullah Hikmati.
He went on to say the Taliban leaders who joined the peace process have had a major influence in the southern regions of the country and the move has also sparked new hopes in Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan provinces.