The Hindu

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

Afghan official says no compromise on fundamenta­l issues

- 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
Mohammad Umer Daudzai

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India