Taliban and the government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan saying that peace talks between the two sides are expected to start as soon as they iron out their main differences over the release of the “most dangerous” Taliban prisoners.
Despite a major push by the United States, there has been a delay in the intra-Afghan talks as the Afghan government and some key NATO members are uncomfortable about the release of Taliban commanders accused of conducting large-scale attacks that killed civilians in recent years.
The Afghan government had also demanded a guarantee from the Taliban that it was no longer holding any Afghan security force prisoners. A source close to the Taliban said the group was willing to move forward so long as most of the 5,000 prisoners demanded were released.
Despite of efforts to ease intra-Afghan talks, the Taliban has continued to attack both combatants and non-combatants in different parts of the country. Afghan government and the international community have time and again called upon Taliban to respect the deal with US and follow up the reduction in violence.
The inclusive intra-Afghan talks will be the most challenging and time consuming part of the talks; during this period Afghans shall discuss a comprehensive and permanent peace deal, agree on a road map for the future of Afghanistan including the political system, women rights and the Afghan constitution.
The US and other countries involved in the Intra-Afghan peace talks will remain neutral during the process and they will only take part in the process if the Afghan negotiators asked them to mediate. Foreigners believe that the Afghan crisis belongs to the Afghans and they shall decide how to solve it. However, they say they are ready to help Afghans to put an end to the war in the country.
Intra-Afghan peace talks provide a unique opportunity and a crucial responsibility for each and every Afghan citizen. The unique opportunity is that as a citizen each of us shall contribute and cooperate to succeed this process as well as the crucial responsibility that each one of us has is to ensure that, the 19-year democratic achievements, our basic rights including human rights and women rights will not be compromised with the Taliban.
To make success the intra-Afghan talks as well as to pave the way for development of the country, it is required that Taliban shun violence and ask their fellow fighters to put down their guns and respect the ceasefire.
If the group continue fighting, their will for peace would be undermined and the US and international community would no longer believe on them and the group would be isolated more than ever. Their continued fighting would only devastate the war-torn country.
The inclusive intra-Afghan talks are the only realistic solution and the only way forward to lasting peace in the country.