Afghanistan Peace Talks Discuss Armistice and Women’s Rights
Windowofworld.com – Representatives of the Afghan Government and Taliban insurgents are holding historic peace talks to end a war that lasted two decades and killed tens of thousands of people. The main issues discussed in the negotiations were the ceasefire and the fulfillment of women’s rights.
The peace talks also benefit US President Donald Trump, who wants to end his country’s longest-running war. He will also use it as an opportunity to raise his achievements ahead of the US Presidential Election. He also promised a lot of help to make the deal a success.
The peace negotiations unfold a day after the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the US that sparked war in Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the two sides to take the opportunity to reach an agreement and find solutions to the challenges ahead.
“The choice of the political system is up to all of you to make it,” said Pompeo during the opening ceremony of the peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar, Saturday (12/9). “We believe that protecting the rights of all Afghan people is the best way to stop violence,” he said.
The head of the Afghan peace council, Abdullah Abdullah, said that if the two sides could not agree on all points, they would have to compromise. “My delegation in Doha represents a political system supported by millions of women and men from various cultures and ethnic and social backgrounds in our homeland,” he said. Meanwhile, the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Baradar Akhund, said Afghanistan should have an Islamic system for all ethnicities and tribes without any discrimination in their lives.
Pompeo warned about the scale and size of US financial aid to Afghanistan depending on international funding. “The assistance will depend on the choice and implementation of the results of the peace negotiations,” he said.
The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said preventing acts of terrorism was the main condition for peace. In addition, protecting the rights of minorities and women will also be important. Officials, diplomats and analysts described the negotiations as a major milestone. However, it is quite difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as violence increases in the country.
Abdullah said reducing violence and achieving a permanent ceasefire were the main issues to be discussed yesterday. The tough challenge is securing the rights of women and minority citizens is a difficult thing for the Taliban.
Meanwhile, many Afghans support the peace talks. Pariwash Farkish, a teacher in Kabul, said he paid full attention to the peace. He claims to have witnessed many explosions and violence in his country. “When I saw the peace negotiations, I didn’t see any women from the Taliban group. That worries me, “he said.
The peace talks came after months of delay. The talks followed the US-Taliban security deal in February. However, debate over controversial prisoner exchanges slowed the next stage, as did violence in Afghanistan, where a war that has lasted four decades is at a stalemate.
The peace talks are the first direct meetings between the Taliban and representatives of the Afghan Government. Previously, the militant group had always refused to meet with the government, calling them powerless and “puppets” of the US. The two camps aim to achieve political reconciliation and end decades of violence that began with the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1979.
These talks were supposed to start in March, but have been delayed repeatedly due to disputes over the prisoner swap agreed to in the US-Taliban agreement in February as well as violence in Afghanistan. A separate, but interconnected US-Taliban deal sets a timetable for a withdrawal of foreign troops, in exchange for counter-terrorism guarantees.
The deal will take a year to finalize, and government-Taliban talks are expected to become more complex. Many fear that progress on women’s rights could be sacrificed in the process.
These negotiations are also a challenge for the Taliban who must present a real political vision for Afghanistan. So far they have always vaguely stated they desire an “Islamic” but also “inclusive” government. These talks will likely provide evidence of how these rebel groups have changed since the 1990s, when they used a harsh interpretation of sharia law.
What were discussed in the peace talks? The US and their allies in NATO have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months, while the Taliban are committed not to allow al-Qaeda or other extremist groups to operate in areas they control. The United States also agreed to lift sanctions against the Taliban and work with the United Nations to lift other sanctions against the group and reduce its troop numbers in the country from around 12,000 to 8,600 and close some bases.
The Afghanistan war has lasted 19 years under the code name Operation Enduring Freedom and later Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. At the start of the operation in 2001, the United States was assisted by an international coalition and quickly overthrew the Taliban. However, the militant group turned into a rebel force that launched deadly attacks on coalition forces.