World: The Afghan Government Is Missing From Afghanistan's Peace Process - PressFrom - US
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WorldThe Afghan Government Is Missing From Afghanistan's Peace Process

16:05  12 february  2019
16:05  12 february  2019 Source:   theatlantic.com

Taliban to take part in 'intra-Afghan' talks in Moscow

Taliban to take part in 'intra-Afghan' talks in Moscow The Taliban say they will participate in what they call "intra-Afghan" talks in Moscow among prominent Afghan figures, including former President Hamid Karzai and tribal elders _ but no Kabul government officials. The office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has criticized the meeting in the Russian capital, expected on Tuesday, as a gathering of the power-hungry.

Fresh hope has been injected into the Afghan peace process after Taliban officials said groundbreaking preliminary talks with the US last The Trump administration changed tack, however, in recognition of the Taliban’ s refusal to enter negotiations with the Afghan government without first

For the Afghan peace process to succeed, we strongly believe, regional state-sponsorship of Taliban and their terrorist activities must end. Despite international peace efforts, the Taliban still prefer to talk to the United States rather than to the Afghan government . Why is that ?

The Afghan Government Is Missing From Afghanistan's Peace Process© Kevin Lamarque / Reuters Donald Trump and Afghan president Ashraf Ghani meet in New York in 2017.

Can a peace process work if it excludes the government of the country in conflict? We may be finding out.

At present, there are two distinct efforts under way to bring peace in Afghanistan: In one, Zalmay Khalilzad, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, has held several discussions with Taliban leaders. In the other, a meeting in Moscow this month brought together influential Afghans, including former President Hamid Karzai, and Taliban leaders. Conspicuously missing from both? The Afghan government.

Taliban takes centre stage as Kabul cut out of peace talks

Taliban takes centre stage as Kabul cut out of peace talks President Ashraf Ghani is being pushed to the sidelines as the Taliban ignores his overtures for peace and negotiates instead with his friends, and enemies, over the future of Afghanistan. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); From Doha to Moscow, the insurgents are meeting an array of envoys with competing interests in Afghanistan, from the United States eager to withdraw their troops to political leaders in Kabul jostling for power.

UN-backed peace talks have since taken place between the Afghan government and the Taliban.[79] In May 2014, the United States After the withdrawal of the Soviet military from Afghanistan in May 1989, the PDPA regime under Najibullah held on until 1992, when the collapse of the Soviet Union

Hamid Karzai, chairman of Afghanistan ' s interim administration since December 2001, is picked to head the country's transitional government . Some observers allege Karzai tolerates corruption by members of his clan and his government . The Northern Alliance, dominated by ethnic Tajiks, fails in

The absence of President Ashraf Ghani’s democratically elected, internationally recognized administration in a process that could decide the future of his country raises questions about who is deciding what about Afghanistan’s fate; whether the United States’ policy of maintaining troops in Afghanistan until the conditions are right for withdrawal can outlive the wishes of President Donald Trump, who wants to pull out; and whether the Taliban can be trusted to keep any promises it makes. (Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, was in Afghanistan on Monday on a surprise visit and met with Ghani. He denied he had orders to “step down our forces in Afghanistan.”)

For now, these peace negotiations’ prospects of success are far from clear: American forces are still carrying out targeted strikes and aerial bombardment of Taliban positions; key regional players (notably Pakistan) will have a role to play in any final settlement; and while the Taliban, in an effort to secure the withdrawal of American troops, has reportedly pledged to ensure that Afghanistan will not be a base for international terrorist groups, how the United States will enforce that agreement is an open question.

Afghan officials: Taliban kill 11 policemen, 10 others

Afghan officials: Taliban kill 11 policemen, 10 others The Taliban killed at least 21 people in their latest attacks in Afghanistan, including 11 policemen who were slain when the insurgents stormed a checkpoint in northern Baghlan province, provincial officials said Tuesday.The

China’ s role in Afghanistan is undoubtedly growing. What does that mean for the peace process ? The ceasefires are for a very short period and do not include all armed actors in the Afghan civil war. The government has not extended its truce to the Islamic State group, and the Taliban has said it will

China’ s role in Afghanistan is gradually evolving towards more engagement in various areas. This increasing engagement reflects both China’ s concerns about the deterioration of security in Afghanistan since large numbers of international security forces withdrew from the country in 2014

[Kori Schake: How a forever war ends]

Still, efforts to resolve similar conflicts typically involve both the government and the main rebel group—even if, at first, the two sides are talking through an intermediary. That is not happening in this case. Kabul’s absence in this process is remarkable. It would be akin to George Mitchell negotiating directly with Irish republicans while cutting the British government out of the process that resulted in peace in Northern Ireland.

And whatever its final result, Ghani is worried that the U.S.-led effort, especially, is being rushed; that Washington is cutting him out; and that the end result will be a premature withdrawal of American troops. There is good reason for his concern. The Taliban might be making assurances to Khalilzad and to its interlocutors in Moscow, but it is unclear whether those guarantees are acceptable to the Afghan government.

We are not a 'political tool': Afghan women on Taliban talks

We are not a 'political tool': Afghan women on Taliban talks Women who lived under the harsh rule of the Taliban urged senior Afghan politicians to ensure their hard-won freedoms are not bargained away when they talk peace with the insurgents on Tuesday. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The Afghan Women's Network said their rights should not be used as a "political tool" in dealings with the Taliban, who barred women from schools and jobs and drastically curtailed their personal liberties when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

OSLO — At a corner table of the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan’ s capital, an emissary from the Taliban’ s supreme leader arrived with a message of peace . It was 2007, as the Afghan Taliban insurgency was growing bolder.

KABUL -- The Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) is ready to hold peace talks with the Taliban without any preconditions, HPC Chairman Mohammad Karim Khalili said Positive coverage of the peace process by Afghan and Pakistani media can change the situation in the region, according to Khalili.

“We sense a lot of anxiety in the [presidential] palace,” Borhan Osman, an Afghanistan-based senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, a think tank, said in an email.

President Trump told CBS this month that he wanted “to bring our great troops home” after more than 18 years of fighting, but in both Kabul and Washington, there is concern that a precipitous withdrawal will send Afghanistan into a tailspin.

The president’s State of the Union speech last week—in which he left open the possibility that a small portion of the 11,000 American soldiers currently in Afghanistan would remain there to focus on counterterrorism—should assuage that concern somewhat, but it won’t do much for Ghani’s feeling of being cut out. In his speech, Trump specifically named the Taliban as a group the United States was talking with, while referring to Washington’s other interlocutors, presumably including the government, as “a number of Afghan groups.” (Roya Rahmani, the Afghan envoy to the United States, said at an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington last week that Kabul wasn’t interpreting the speech as official U.S. policy, but as a platform for Trump to discuss his plans.)

Taliban demand new constitution for Afghanistan at rare talks

Taliban demand new constitution for Afghanistan at rare talks The Taliban demanded a new constitution for Afghanistan and promised an "inclusive Islamic system" to govern the war-torn country at a rare gathering with senior Afghan politicians in Russia Tuesday that excluded the Kabul government. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The insurgents' manifesto, outlined in Moscow before some of Afghanistan's most influential leaders, comes a week after the Taliban held unprecedented six-day talks with US negotiators in Doha about ending the 17-year war.

Afghanistan ’ s dream for a sustainable peace remains unmet since the country's establishment. Amir Habibullah—son of Amir Abdur Rahman, the founder of the Since then, however, Afghanistan has experienced neither sustainable nor long-lasting peace . At present, the Taliban primary challenge to

Women Are Missing From These Crucial Talks. Update: On Monday, talks aimed at kickstarting peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban after more than a Despite Afghanistan ' s President Ashraf Ghani's promises to include women in the negotiations, they've been

[Read: Talking to the Taliban while still fighting the Taliban]

There are other reasons for concern on the part of Afghanistan: The U.S. State Department’s own language about talks with the Taliban has undergone a subtle shift in the period since Khalilzad assumed his position. During the Obama years and until at least November 2018, it referred to an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace process. Those words no longer appear in briefings or statements. When asked at an event at the U.S. Institute of Peace, a Washington think tank, why the Afghan government wasn’t a part of the process, Khalilzad said that the dialogue was not at the stage where the government could talk directly with the Taliban, and that “a formula” was still needed for the vaunted “Afghan-owned, Afghan-led [process] to really take place.” (On Sunday, Khalilzad began a two-week trip to Europe, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to meet his counterparts in the peace process. A State Department statement said that he will “consult with the Afghan government throughout the trip.”)

Part of the challenge is that Washington and Kabul are disclosing different aspects of their conversations with each other. A U.S. statement describing a phone call last week between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ghani said that the chief U.S. diplomat told the Afghan leader about the American commitment to facilitating an inclusive peace process. It added that Pompeo emphasized the importance of intra-Afghan dialogue that leads to a political settlement, as well as the “U.S. desire for a long-term partnership with Afghanistan.”

Afghan leader speaks with Pompeo amid fresh peace efforts

Afghan leader speaks with Pompeo amid fresh peace efforts Afghanistan's president has spoken with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an apparent bid to reassert his authority as Washington accelerates its negotiations with the Taliban and as separate talks unfold in Moscow without the government's involvement. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, U.S.

The general sense in Afghanistan is that the peace process should be Afghan -led and Afghan -owned. Americans cannot talk to the Taliban on behalf of the It invaded Afghanistan in 2001 not to overthrow the Taliban regime and bring peace to the war-torn country, but it basically sought to

KABUL (Pajhwok): Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has reiterated the US government ’ s support to promote the KABUL (Pajhwok): Russian Ambassador in Kabul Alexander Mantytskiy has said his country supports the Afghan peace process

By contrast, Ghani said on Twitter that Pompeo had stressed that the two countries’ military partnership “will remain until a lasting and inclusive peace is achieved.” The Afghan president added that Pompeo “underscored the central importance of ensuring the centrality of the Afghan government in the peace process [and] reiterated the U.S. commitment and support to holding the upcoming presidential elections in July.”

Those elections, which were supposed to be conducted in April, have already been delayed once; Ghani does not want to postpone them again. He wants to be seen as the man who can deliver peace and stability to his country. But Afghanistan’s gains, though demonstrable, are tenuous and reversible: The government survives because of Western aid and military support; it controls a little more than half of the country’s districts; and corruption and ethnic divisions are widespread. The absence of the Afghan government in a peace process could send a message to the Afghan public about who is—and who isn’t—in charge.

[Read: What should Trump do in Afghanistan?]

When talks began in July between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar, they were expected to pave the way quickly for direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. That second step hasn’t yet materialized. The Taliban insists it won’t negotiate with the government in Kabul until, among other preconditions, Washington announces a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops. Those talks, accompanied by the process in Moscow, will serve as confirmation for some Afghans that the Afghan government is either weak or a proxy for a foreign power. (Attempts by the Obama administration to talk with the Taliban during the Karzai era enraged the then–Afghan leader.)

There is also a bigger question surrounding talks with the Taliban: Will their words be matched by their actions after the American withdrawal?

The Taliban knows Trump’s goal is to withdraw U.S. forces. Washington, on the other hand, has little idea of what the militants ultimately want: To be part of the Afghan political structure? For the insurgency to continue? Will they allow women to continue to participate in public life? The militants say they want friendly relations with the West in order to keep the flow of foreign aid going, and spokespeople have said women will be allowed to work and go to school if they were in charge.

“The Taliban’s seriousness about these claims,” Osman, the International Crisis Group analyst, said, “remains to be tested.”

Anti-communist guerrilla who became Afghan president dies.
Sibghatullah Mujadidi, who was Afghanistan's first president following the withdrawal of the Soviet army and the collapse in 1992 of Kabul's pro-communist government, has died at 93.

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