Abdullah's stance on talks reflects national consensus
KABUL (PAN): Some political experts say the Afghanistan's National Coalition support for peace talks reflected national unanimity on the issue, but others believe the coalition's move is an American demand.
The coalition leader and President Hamid Karzai's principal rival, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, on Wednesday told a Kabul-based newspaper they supported Afghan-led reconciliation efforts.
The remarks represent a clear departure from his previous stance that the government-led peace parleys were a failure because there had been no specific definition of the insurgents.
Both the US and the Taliban have confirmed contacts to initiate a dialogue on a political end to the conflict. Media reports say the US and Germany have agreed to open a liaison office for the Taliban in Qatar.
After a brief silence, the Afghan government also announced its agreement with a Taliban political bureau in Doha, with President Karzai insisting on a lead role for the Afghans.
Political analyst, Abdul Sattar Sadati, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Afghanistan's National Coalition had for the first time announced its support for talks with the insurgents.
"The coalition's stance is in line with national consensus on the issue, because every Afghan wants peace and stability," he said, adding the grouping supported a resolution of the conflict by Afghans themselves.
A Kabul University teacher, Jafar Kohistani, said the coalition's position reflected the wishes of Afghans. However, he added, the alliance also sought a role in the process to preserve its future interests.
According to Sadati, all political forces should respect aspirations of the masses instead of foreign powers. The coalition's stance would win support from high-ranking government officials, the teacher believed.
But another political commentator, Waheed Muzhda, said Abdullah's new standpoint was an American demand, because the US needed support for a political solution to the conflict.
He believed the US planned to give the Afghans a key role in the reconciliation process. "The coalition wants to win Afghans' confidence and the US backing in the next presidential election."
Another Kabul University teacher at the faculty of political science, Najib Mehmood, said both the Afghan government and people were supportive of the parleys with the rebels.
He opined the Afghanistan's National Coalition, with an eye on the presidential election, wanted the conflict to be resolved before the polls. For winning the election, the coalition needed US support, he concluded.
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