The peace talks in Doha may end the war between the Taliban and the United States, but they will never end the Taliban’s war against the people of Afghanistan, said Amrullah Saleh, the ex-head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and a running mate to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
The statement by Saleh comes amid renewed hopes that the ongoing talks between the US and the Taliban will cement concrete steps for a potential peace agreement. An agreement is expected to include some level of withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and assurances by the Taliban that Afghanistan’s soil may not be used against the US and other countries.
“The talks between the Americans and the Taliban in Doha may lead to the end of war between the Taliban and America. But there is no possibility that these negotiations in Doha will lead to an end to the Taliban’s war against the Afghan nation,” said Saleh at an event organized by The Institute of War and Peace Studies (IWPS) in Kabul where analysts expressed their views on the challenges facing the Afghan peace process.
The Taliban are the "killers of Afghanistan’s political leaders," said Saleh, referring to the killing of several Afghan political leaders including former presidents Burhanuddin Rabbani, Dr. Najibullah Ahmadzai and several other influential Afghan politicians including former Mujahideen leader Haji Abdul Haq, Abdul Ali Mazari and Sayed Mustafa Kazemi.
“The Taliban are the killers of elders of Afghanistan, Dr. Najib, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani, Abdulhaq, Abdul Qadeer, Abdul Ali Mazari, Kazemi and rest of the elders of Afghanistan,” said Saleh.
“I believe that repeating the bitter events of the past will not help us to reach to peace,” said Mutasim Agha Jan, the finance minister during the Taliban’s regime.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by The Institute of War and Peace Studies (IWPS) has found that almost 68 percent of Afghans said they want the republic system to prevail in the country after a potential peace agreement with the Taliban.
In the survey, the IWPS talked to over 5,000 Afghans across the country. 60 percent of respondents were interviewed in the villages of the country.
65 percent of the respondents said that the peace process should be led by the Afghan people. 41 percent of the respondents said that the US Special Envoy on Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad was the proper man for bringing peace in Afghanistan.
Overview of the survey:
68 percent suggested the preservation of the republic system
12 percent suggested the creation of an Islamic Emirate
65 percent suggested the peace process be led by the Afghan people
41 percent think Zalmay Khalilzad is the suitable person who can bring peace to Afghanistan
46 percent supported the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan
83 suggested that women should be given a role in the peace process
“Regular and systematic surveys were not conducted regarding the peace process--our objective was to conduct a systematic survey and move it forward in the futures,” said Tamim Asey, Executive Chairman and Director of IWPS.
But Saleh meanwhile suggested that any peace deal with the Taliban should be approved by the Afghan parliament and the Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly).
But Mutasim Agha Jan said that he believes the current peace negotiation talks between the US and the Taliban were a good opportunity to restore peace in the country.
In addition, Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador and Head of European Union Delegation in Afghanistan called on the Afghan government and the Taliban to come up with more flexibility and a softer tone in helping achieve a peace agreement.
“Peace will be implemented in the field, in the villages, in the valleys, in the mountains of Afghanistan by the people of Afghanistan,” said Mayaudon.
Nicholas Kay, the NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan also said at the same event that any peace deal with the Taliban should the mark end of the war and restoration of a durable peace and security in Afghanistan.
This new development takes place amid marathon diplomacy efforts at the regional and international level to get the Taliban militants to agree on a ceasefire or reduction in violence aimed at paving the way for a peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, that the only solution to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan is that there are negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban and this will help to move things forward.
US President Donald Trump has also told Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani that there cannot be "meaningful negotiations" unless the proposed Taliban reduction in violence is "significant and lasting," According to a statement released from the White House on Wednesday.