Some lawmakers in the Wolesi, the Lower House of the Afghan Parliament, on Saturday pointed finger at government’s peace negotiations team – which was announced by President Ghani at Geneva Conference on Afghanistan on November 28, saying that there is a need for review of the team’s formation.
The MPs said members of the team lack the required capabilities and experiences to run the process and that they are not influential figures.
“The president (Ashraf Ghani) should have thought deeply in this regard and should have appointed people whose experience in politics are enough. They are people who do not have high social status and influence and I do not know what was the criteria for appointing the team members,” MP Nafisa Azimi said.
“When I see government’s performance, I feel that it does not have the will to make progress in the peace process. Ninety percent of the introduced team lack experience, authority and social status for sitting on peace table with the Taliban,” said Jafar Mahdawi, a lawmaker.
“Negotiations on peace should be conducted in a proper time to prove to Afghans and the world that both the Afghan government and militants want peace,” MP Ghulam Sakhi Mashwani said.
Meanwhile, political parties, who criticized the team from the first day of its announcement, said they do not accept the introduced team and that they have an outline for conducting peace negotiations with the Taliban. They urged government to use their outline.
The political parties said the peace negotiations should be conducted face-to-face between political parties, government, civil society and the Taliban.
“We hope that government hears and considers the opinion and framework that the political parties have prepared for peace talks. Also regarding the team, it would be better to appoint a quadrilateral team for negotiations. The outline of the political parties is quadrilateral negotiations,” said Mohammad Natiqi, head of political committee of political parties.
One member of government’s negotiating team, who wished not to be named, said President Ghani will meet with the team on Saturday evening.
The Peace Negotiating Team
According to President Ghani’s announcement at Geneva Conference, following are members of the negotiating team:
• Abdul Salam Rahimi, Chief of Staff of the President
• Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi, Minister of Education
• Hasina Safi, Minister of Information and Culture
• Abdul Tawab Balakarzai, Deputy Minister of Higher Education
• Dr. Alema, Deputy Minister of Refugees and Repatriation
• General Ebadullah Ebad, Deputy of National Directorate of Security
• Shahgul Rezaee, Member of Wolesi Jirga
• Attaullah Ludin, Member of Ulema Council
• Shamim Katawazai, governor of Paktia province
• Abdullah Attai, Member of Supreme Court
• Tooryali Ghiasi, Director of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
• Abdul Hakim Muneeb, Deputy Minister of Haj and Religious Affairs
Government formed the peace negotiating team after the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad asked both the Afghan government and Taliban to form their negotiating teams for conducting peace talks.
While reports say that US has given Khalilzad six months to conclude the Afghan peace talks, but President Ashraf Ghani said in Geneva that the peace plan will take at least five years to be implemented.