Afghans oppose Interim Government for Afghanistan

January 29, 2019

By Imtiaz Wazir- Reacting to the widespread media reports, highlighting major developments in the US-Taliban peace talks held in Qatar, Afghan political and civil society leaders and activists have raised their concerns about uncomfortable representation of the Afghan government in the US Taliban Peace Talks and strongly opposed interim government for the war-devastated country, bearing the brunt of casualties and offering highest level of sacrifices in the ongoing war against state sponsored terrorism, waged by the hostile neighborhood.

After holding another round of talks with Taliban leaders in Qatar, US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in the Afghan capital on Monday amid widespread reports in Afghan media that he was there to discuss a proposed interim government that would include the Taliban.

Celebrating the current situations and unexpected changes in the US policy on the region, Pakistanis argue, their country has won the war on both fronts, militarily and diplomatically.

Mr Khalilzad, however, disowned the reports. Addressing Afghan media, Mr Khalilzad said negotiations were now focused on a comprehensive ceasefire plan. “We are working with the Afghan government, with international partners, to find implementing mechanisms to reach these goals,” he said.

Moreover, the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC), an independent body appointed by the government to negotiate peace and pave a ground for the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process with Taliban, also dismissed rumors of an interim government, noting that it was “not on our agenda”.

HPC Spokesman, Ihsan Taheri stressed respect for constitutional authority of the Afghan government. “Our people want intra-Afghan direct talks to kick off between the Afghan government and Taliban.”

The US Special Envoy, Mr Khalilzad has repeatedly assured the Afghan government and people, but politicians and civil society activists express their concerns about a transitional political leadership with the Taliban, largely because many Afghans fear the influence of Pakistan and other regional powers in such a setup.

Rumors of interim government gave birth to strong and harsh opposition and raised the fear of postponing the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for July of the year.

Also of concern to Afghans are reports that Mr Khalilzad had discussed with the Taliban a timeline for withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. A premature withdrawal of troops could leave the country’s already faltering security in an even more vulnerable state. The situations will not only be disastrous for the Afghan Millat on both sides of the Durand Line, but for the entire region and the US-led International Community as well.

The persistent refusal of the Taliban to talk with the Afghan government, which it views as an American puppet, undermining the credibility of the talks in the eyes of Afghans.

“Intra-Afghan dialogue [is] the only solution and concrete path forward to lasting peace and stability in the country,” Afghans believe.

Mr Khalilzad has rejected accusations about Afghans not being involved in the process. “There is a false narrative that Afghans are not included. That is not true. The Afghan voice is there,” he said.

However, Afghans express their worries that if a deal is made with Pakistan looking over the Taliban, it will not be in the national interest of Afghanistan.

According to pundits, the Afghan government and millat on both sides of the line must have to stay vigilant to be not deceived at this critical stage of the country’s history.

President Ashraf Ghani and his political and security team should escalate further efforts and increase engagement on national and international fronts to foil all nefarious designs of the enemies and friends and, change the challenges into opportunities.

Afghans across the board have the responsibility to seek unity in diversity and strengthen the shoulders of President Ashraf Ghani and his team to fight the Afghan case and lead the country on right and visionary track.

Responding to the situations, politically, President Ghani should hold meetings with tribal elders, youth, civil society, politicians, religious scholars and Kabul-based foreign diplomats to take them into confidence for the Afghan-led peace process.

Bearing the worst consequences of various wars, Afghanistan and its people are in dire need of peace and stability, but not on the cost of Afghanistan and its historic rights.

The US led NATO member countries must review and revisit their unpopular and suicidal decision of the troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, an act of throwing the Afghans to wolves, terrorists and terror sponsor states.

Denouncing the media news regarding the US and NATO troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, last year in Brussels said, “We are stepping up somewhere else to eliminate terrorists in their safe havens.”

Pakistan has long been sheltering and harboring various terrorist groups on its soil and export them into Afghanistan for terrorist and destructive activities in a bid to keep the country destabilized and undermining the US-led war on terror.

Instead of leaving the Afghanistan, the US is in need of nurturing strategic relationship with Kabul and New Delhi in the region and take the war to the safe havens of the terrorists to win war on terror and meet joint harmony in the regional and global politics and economy.

 

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