Talks have begun between the government and the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan. The first day of talks focused on international aid, women’s rights, a ceasefire and the implementation of the Islamic system.
The talks symbolically began a day after the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. US President Donald Trump wants an end to the longest war in his country’s history and the withdrawal of all troops. Presidential elections are due in November and Trump is trying to resolve these issues as soon as possible. A deal was reached between the US and the Taliban in February this year, and part of that deal was direct talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban.
It is also important that the Taliban want to turn Afghanistan into an Islamic ’emirate’, while Afghan President Ashraf Ghani wants a Western-backed constitutional republic to prevail.
Direct talks between the Kabul government and Taliban insurgents in the Qatari capital, Doha, began on Saturday, September 12. Addressing the opening ceremony, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that although there are many challenges, the parties should seize the opportunity to reach a detailed peace agreement. “It’s up to you to decide what kind of political system you want in the country, but we believe that protecting the rights of all Afghan citizens is the right way to end the cycle of violence,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo added that future financial aid to Afghanistan would depend on the decisions made at the Doha talks. Later, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmai Khalilzad told reporters that in addition to preventing terrorism, the protection of the rights of minorities and women is also essential to receiving financial assistance.
The Afghan government delegation to the talks is led by Abdullah Abdullah, a former chief executive and head of the Afghan government’s High Reconciliation Committee. In his opening statement, he called for a ceasefire. In addition, Abdullah Abdullah said, “Even if the parties do not agree on all points, a compromise is necessary. My delegation is representing a political system in Doha that has the support of diverse people from different cultures and ethnicities. ”
In his opening statement, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, head of the Taliban delegation, reiterated the Taliban’s long-standing demand for an Islamic system in the country. According to him, an Islamic system should be implemented in Afghanistan in which people of all tribes and ethnicities can live their lives with love and brotherhood without any discrimination.
The European Union and the Western defense alliance NATO have welcomed the start of talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban in Doha. EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell called on all parties to seize the opportunity to call for a nationwide and immediate ceasefire. NATO has said that in view of the progress and the situation in the peace process, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan or a change in its number could be discussed. However, NATO also warned that despite the peace process, violence is on the rise in Afghanistan. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a tweet that it should be ensured that Afghanistan does not become a haven for terrorists again.