Ancient Afghan peace talks fraught with uncertainty

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Ancient negotiations between the Taliban and Afghanistan’s political management opened in Qatar on Saturday, offering the supreme likelihood of peace after a long time of war.

The U.S. had hoped negotiations would commence inner two weeks of Feb. 29, when it signed a peace form out the Taliban, effectively acknowledging a military stalemate after nearly two a long time of war. The settlement known as for bellow intra-Afghan negotiations but required either aspect to launch prisoners as a signal of staunch religion sooner than talks.

The Afghan govt, which used to be in the throes of a political disaster over a disputed presidential election held closing September, balked at being recommended to free 5,000 Taliban but in a roundabout arrangement relented.

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who invested a twelve months and a half negotiating the peace deal, known as negotiations between Afghanistan’s warring aspects “a historical different for peace … one who advantages all Afghans and contributes to regional steadiness and world security.”

But as negotiations commence, the points that separate the two aspects are many, the distrust is deep and the near forward is fraught with uncertainty.

Here’s the set up things stand going into the talks.

BIG AGENDA ITEMS

The truth is one of many first objects on the agenda may maybe maybe be a complete and eternal discontinuance-fire.

The govt. has been relentless in its demand for one, and the Taliban bear over and over acknowledged it may maybe possibly presumably also be one of many first objects on the agenda when negotiations commence. The substantial hurdle is likely to be what to attain with tens of thousands of armed Taliban fighters and the militias staunch to govt-allied warlords.

Protection of rights, seriously girls folks’s, will moreover be high on the agenda. Afghanistan, including the government, is deeply conservative and in 19 years has refused to pass a girls folks’s rights invoice. The eyes of the world team are likely to be the greatest motivator for making growth for girls folks.

The Taliban bear already acknowledged yes to ladies folks and girls attending college, girls folks working, girls folks in politics and as attorneys and judges. Alternatively, they are saying they scheme the line at a woman president or Supreme Court chief justice. The Linked Press has surveyed a sizable form of political leaders in Kabul — males and even a few girls folks — who speak it’s miles a compromise they are able to are dwelling with. Now not all people has the same opinion, including the vulnerable head of Afghanistan’s Human Rights Commission, Sima Samar.

Constitutional changes are moreover expected to be high on the agenda, and substantial in many Afghans’ minds may maybe maybe be the Taliban’s interpretation of Islamic principles. Varied housekeeping points contain settling on the establish of the country: Islamic Republic or Islamic Emirate?

AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE

On the Taliban aspect, the 20-member negotiating team is a solid team that entails 13 contributors from the gallop’s management council. It’s led by Taliban chief justice Abdul Hakim, whose appointment closing weekend got here as a surprise. He changed Sher Mohammed Abbas Stanikzai, who’s now deputy head of the Taliban team.

Taliban chief Maulvi Hibatullah Akhunzada reshuffled the negotiating committee one day of August, placing off a key negotiator Maulvi Amir Khan Muttaqi, who’s regarded as shut to Afghanistan’s neighbor Pakistan. He added but another four from the management council. The ability of the team manner they are able to form selections comparatively worthy on the set up.

The man who negotiated the peace form out the People and is a co-founder of the gallop, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, heads the organization’s worthy place of work in Qatar’s capital, Doha.

The Afghan govt’s negotiating team is led by Mohammad Mamoon Stanikzai, no relation to the Taliban head negotiator. He is a vulnerable head of Afghan intelligence who used to be forced to resign after an anti-terrorist intelligence unit used to be implicated in civilian deaths.

The particular vitality to form selections will relaxation with the High Council for Nationwide Reconciliation led by Abdullah Abdullah, who used to be given the put up in a political compromise with President Ashraf Ghani after anxious Ghani’s receive in controversial presidential elections closing twelve months. Abdullah’s council will study educated opinions on staunch, non secular and constitutional points as they arrive up sooner than reaching any settlement.

WORRIES GOING FORWARD

Afghan observers and analysts bear expressed fears that disgruntled vulnerable Taliban fighters may maybe presumably well join assorted militant teams, most notably the Islamic Order team’s affiliate in the country.

Taliban fighters bear been struggling with the upstart affiliate, but the Taliban bear already misplaced fighters to the unconventional militant Sunni Muslim team. Many Taliban fighters are disappointed at their leaders entering peace negotiations and remark they are able to receive militarily, with nearly 50% of the country already mostly in their shield watch over.

Washington’s watchdog, the Particular Inspector Fundamental for Afghan Reconstruction, has expressed concerns that Taliban fighters returning to their homes may maybe maybe be focused by atrocious officials or threatened by authorities. This came about in 2001 when vulnerable fighters went dwelling after their govt used to be ousted by the U.S.-led coalition for harboring al-Qaida leader Osama bin Weighted down. Those fighters went into the mountains and help into the ranks of a — for the time being — largely destroyed Taliban. The assaults against the returning fighters moreover exacerbated ethnic divisions, with most Taliban, who’re ethnic Pashtuns, feeling marginalized.

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