‘Peace pact with Tal­iban is un­likely be­fore Sept. polls’

Afghan of­fi­cial says no com­pro­mise on fun­da­men­tal is­sues

The Hindu - - NATION - Kal­lol Bhat­tacher­jee

A peace agree­ment with the Tal­iban is un­likely to ma­te­ri­alise be­fore the Sep­tem­ber elec­tion in Afghanista­n, said a leader of the High Peace Coun­cil of the coun­try. Ad­dress­ing a gath­er­ing at the In­dian Coun­cil of World Af­fairs (ICWA) here, Mo­ham­mad Umer Daudzai, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of the Afghan High Peace Coun­cil, said Afghanista­n would not com­pro­mise on fun­da­men­tal is­sues with the Tal­iban, stat­ing that the rebels would have to come clean about ties with Pak­istan.

Long process

“Peace talks is a com­plex and long process which will take some time. But it will not be achieved be­fore the elec­tion. There will be some un­cer­tain­ties but the polling and tran­si­tion will be com­pleted nev­er­the­less,” said Mr. Daudzai, who held talks with Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sushma Swaraj on Fri­day.

In con­ver­sa­tion with the vis­it­ing dig­ni­tary, Ms. Swaraj con­veyed In­dia’s sup­port to peace and sta­bil­ity in the war-torn coun­try. “In­dia ex­pressed its sup­port for sus­tain­able peace in Afghanista­n,” said the Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs spokesper­son Raveesh Ku­mar in a so­cial me­dia mes­sage.

Ar­eas of con­cern

Mr. Daudzai ex­plained Kabul’s main ar­eas of con­cern about the on­go­ing peace talks be­tween the Tal­iban and the United States in Qatar.

He pointed out that the U.S. spe­cial en­voy for the talks, Am­bas­sador Zal­may Khalilzad, and other se­nior of­fi­cials have from time to time briefed Kabul about the talks but main­tained that they had no way to find out if they were be­ing told the full de­tails. The visit by the key of­fi­cial took place, days af­ter the visit of Mr. Khalilzad to Delhi dur­ing which he briefed In­dian pol­icy mak­ers.

High pro­file

How­ever, he said the talks had given the Tal­iban a higher po­lit­i­cal pro­file. He men­tioned that the U.S.-Tal­iban talks were not sup­posed to treat the rebels as the real rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the peo­ple of the coun­try, say­ing “Peo­ple of Afghanista­n are op­ti­mistic of the fu­ture of peace but they are also pes­simistic as the real party that is the Gov­ern­ment of Afghanista­n is miss­ing in the talks.”

“When the right time comes, the Tal­iban will join the rest of the coun­try,” said Mr. Daudzai, ex­press­ing hope for con­tin­ued peace process in the fu­ture.

Mo­ham­mad Umer Daudzai

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