Spanta’s remarks spark heated debate
KABUL (PAN): The Senate -- upper house of the parliament -- on Sunday asked the president’s national security advisor to brief it on the views he shared with lower house members regarding reconciliation with the Taliban.
On Saturday, Wolesi Jirga member from northern Faryab province quoted Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta as saying that reconciliation negotiations were yet to get under way and that the government was not in contact with any key Taliban figure.
High Peace Council Chairman Masoom Stanikzai informed MPs some senior Taliban figures, including Syed Tayeb Agha, were in secret contact with the government to facilitate the process.
But Dr. Spanta insisted the reconciliation effort remained stalled, because the Taliban in touch with the government had no influence on the movement. Militants with personal or tribal links with PHC members were in talks with the authorities, the advisor explained
Spanta’s remarks provoked a heated debate in the Meshrano Jirga, with a senator from Takhar province accusing the advisor of making the startling statement all too late. Abdul Wahab Irfan said: “It means people have been hoodwinked over the past few years…”
The advisor’s views were tantamount to playing with public will and sentiments regarding the peace process, Irfan believed, asking what the HPC had been doing these years when there was no such process in motion.
Baz Mohammad Zurmati, a legislator from Paktia province, also denounced the ex-foreign minister’s remarks as “irresponsible”. For years, he said, the Karzai administration had been in search of the Taliban’s address.
Now that the insurgents have opened their political office in Doha, Spanta has come up with the observation that peace parleys were yet to commence, according to the lawmaker, who said: “The advisor is saying all this in an attempt to save retain his position.”
He suggested Spanta should be summoned along with Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul and HPC leaders to paint a real and accurate picture of the peace drive.
A public representative from western Herat province, Shahnaz Ghausi said Afghanistan was going through a sensitive phase and the authorities must exercise caution on issues of national importance. If reconciliation stayed elusive, PHC should be abolished, he demanded.
1st Deputy Chairman Mohammad Alam Ezedyar, who chaired the Senate session, assailed government officials of giving contradictory statements on the peace process and other key matters.
He directed domestic security and international panels to summon Spanta, Rassoul and Stanikzai and seek an update from them on the peace campaign.
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