Experts pessimistic about peace talks’ success
KABUL (Pajhwok): Kabul-based political experts believe the peace talks could not succeed until a common strategy is developed within Afghanistan looking at Taliban’s pre-conditions including the withdrawal of all foreign troops.
The experts did not seem optimistic about the success of the peace talks amid renewed efforts by Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US to bring the Taliban, who once ruled Afghanistan for almost five years, to the negotiating table.
Officials from the four nations on Monday held their first quadrilateral meeting and reiterated the commitment to realising objectives expressed at meetings on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad in December.
The meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCC) was opened by Adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, who asked the warring parties to avoid pre-conditions. The next 4-nation meeting will be held in Kabul on January 18.
Pakistan brokered a first round of peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban in July but the process collapsed after the Taliban belatedly confirmed the death of their founder Mullah Omar.
Political experts said the 4-nation meeting in Islamabad did not present a clear mechanism for direct talks with Taliban who would not attend the talks unconditionally. [
Rafiullah Niazi, head of the Afghanistan Regional Studies Centre (ARSC), told Pajhwok Afghan News that Taliban’s presence in such meetings was vital and any mechanism to push forward the peace talks should be prepared in the presence of Taliban’s representatives otherwise the parlays would not yield results.
“We should wait until the 4-nation group takes a final decision which may come at the next week’s meeting in Kabul,” he said.
He said the involvement of China and the US was a positive development and the two countries should build pressure on Islamabad not to pursue its own interests in the Afghanistan’s peace bid.
Syed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban member and head of the Shura-i-Nijat Afghanistan party, was also skeptical about the quadrilateral talks. He said the Taliban were yet to give their nod to the launch of the second round of peace talks.
He said the quadrilateral meeting in Islamabad was without results and peace talks would be a false exercise until Taliban’s conditions were considered, including the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
The former Taliban member said foreign troops’ pullout and the establishment of a mutually agreed government system were the only points the two sides could negotiate.
Abdul Baqi Amin, head of the Afghanistan Strategic and Regional Study Centre (ASRSC), said efforts at establishing peace had increased, but Pakistan lacked interest in bringing peace to Afghanistan. He demanded direct talks with the Taliban.
The Taliban have not yet expressed their view about the 4-nation meeting aimed at reviving the stalled peace talks.
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