AHRRAO director and founding member of Justice Foundation for Peace and Human Rights
A brief overview of the Afghanistan peace talks
Afghanistan peace talks, rational framework and importance of human values
A review on Afghanistan peace talks in which, the United States of America and the Taliban were the key players during past year, reveals that there has been no debate or decision on the interests of Afghanistan and its people’s rights so far. Also, a closer look at the positioning of Afghanistan peace and conflict actors during past year confirms that, the specific plan which could provide the basis for genuine intra-Afghan talks has so far not been raised by any party. In the meantime; for specific reasons, preservation of US interests in Afghanistan and in the region, and the role of Taliban in the future structure and government of Afghanistan have been the sole subjects of US-Taliban peace talks while, the current peace talks with existent conditions and practices will never be able to resolve the dilemma of the forty-year war in Afghanistan, if there is no attention to understand and consider the social, economic and political realities of the country.
The questions that arises at this stage are, what are the social, economic and political realities that must be taken seriously during Afghanistan peace talks? Who or which party is responsible to consider these facts? And, if there is no attention paid to these facts, what will be the consequences for the people of Afghanistan in the future?
Addressing these challenging questions requires the parties involved in the Afghanistan peace talks to make serious preparations before entering into the process. The first principle at this stage of preparation for any party is, to recognize its position as a one of the conflict parties in Afghanistan society. The second principle which should be expressed explicitly is, the expression of the fundamental desire of each party to initiate a result-based peace dialogue. The first principle is not addressed in this article, and will be addressed in another note. Herein, we are going to consider the second principle in preparation step for peace talks, and whether all parties in the Afghan peace talks want a real and lasting peace? If so, at what price do they want to achieve such a peace?
Until now, what has been said and acted by the parties involved in the Afghanistan peace talk is centered on the interests of the groups and the countries involved in Afghanistan, and not on the interests and values of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The reason for this claim is the proliferation of armed conflict, bloodshed and killing of innocent people by the Taliban in order to gain more points at the negotiation table. This clearly proves that the values and as well as social, economic and political realities of Afghanistan are not considered during the peace talks. Also, what has so far been said by the conflict parties in Afghanistan, including the current Afghan government led by Dr. Ghani, the Taliban and the United States, is absolutely not a value-based and secure solution to peace, but are uncertain demands to maintain or gain more power which, continuation of this process will not guarantee any lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Therefore, the conflict parties in Afghanistan, and in particular the Taliban group, should make it very clear to the Afghans whether, they want a genuine and lasting peace based on human and Islamic values in Afghanistan. If so, at what cost? And, what is the mechanism for achieving such peace on their part? This position needs to be taken by the Government of Afghanistan and the United States of America as well. Only after taking this clear position, the parties can agree on a comprehensive peace process that grantees peaceful Afghanistan in accordance to social justice with minimum guarantees for citizens’ participation and balanced development.
In order to achieve a country where peace is based on the above-mentioned principles, conflict parties have to consider and respect the unconditional universal values. The minimum of these values are the basic human rights of citizens enshrined in the Universal and Islamic Declarations of Human Rights and also stated in Chapter Two of the Afghan Constitution, pluralism, human dignity, justice and moderation (in particular, practicing religion according to a modern and moderate interpretation of religion).
The parties’ agreement on the above principles to create a prosperous and progressive Afghanistan based on the noted values provides the basis for the parties to agree on a result-based dialogue process. In this process, the first step is to study the social, economic, cultural and political situation of Afghanistan that enables us to understand the facts about the roots of continues conflicts. Also, within such a rational framework that is built on clear basis, and human values in Afghan society have been taken seriously, the outcome of any agreement can be quickly implemented and provides the basis of trust, lasting peace and as well as state building in long run.
If, such a rational framework is not developed and agreed upon with the aforementioned foundations and fundamental values of Afghan society to build peace in Afghanistan, any action for peace without careful understanding of social, economic and political situation, and without regard to values of Afghanistan society in format of a rational framework for peace talks, will mark the start of a new long run armed conflict, which will be another disaster for the people of Afghanistan.