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MPs split on talks with Taliban

MPs split on talks with Taliban

Aug 17, 2011 - 16:40

KABULinfo-icon(PANinfo-icon): Some Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon members insist on peace negotiations with the Talibaninfo-icon to resolve the ongoing conflict, but others suggest the use of force against those unwilling to accept the Afghan constitution.

Last year, the government created the High Peace Councilinfo-icon, tasked with reaching out to members of the Taliban movement for a dialogue as part of efforts at finding a negotiated end to the decade-old conflict.

The council says it has established initial contact with the insurgents, a claim rejected by the Taliban, who say a precondition for talks is a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Parliamentarians hold different views regarding a political role for the militants and the peace parleys initiated by the Karzai administration.

Nadar Khan Katawazai, a lawmaker from southeastern Paktika province, told Pajhwok Afghan News on Wednesday war was no solution to the imbroglio, viewing peace talks as the sole remedy.

The Afghan Taliban should be included in the political process, he said, urging the insurgents to stop fighting in the spirit of brotherhood. "They should come to the negotiating table to restore peace and stability in the country."

The legislator also asked the government and the international community to create the right conditions for luring the Taliban into peace parleys and facilitating their return to a normal life. Katawazai also called for removing the names of Taliban leaders from the UN blacklist.

A lawmaker from Kabul, Sher Wali Wardak, said the peace effort should continue until a durable solution was found. He said the Taliban should be brought into the national mainstream.

However, he explained the negotiations would succeed only when the Taliban acknowledged the country's constitution and abided by the law.

Asked what the authorities would do if the Taliban refuse to accept the constitution, he replied: "In any case, the peace process should go forward because war is no solution." However, he said, Taliban leaders should be indentified before talks were initiated with them.

Dr. Fatima Aziz, a female lawmaker from northern Kunduz province, said the decade-old war had negative results for the country, and that the hostilities should come to an end.

"If the Taliban are really interested in arriving at the negotiating table, it would be better. But I don't think they would do so," she opined.

Public representative from northern Balkh province, Ahmad Shah Ramazan, said it would be a good omen for the people of Afghanistan if the Taliban agreed to accept the constitution and laid down their arms.

Naheed Farid, an MP from western Herat province, said the insurgents should not be given any role in the government until they agreed to respect human rights. However, he said the government should identify its foes and friends.



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