Tahir Qadiry, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Afghanistan
Tahir Qadiry, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Afghanistan | @tahirqadiry Twitter
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New Delhi: The sudden breakdown of the US-Taliban peace talks last week seems to have come as a much-needed relief for the people of Afghanistan, who can now concentrate on the upcoming elections that is scheduled for 28 September, said Tahir Qadiry, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of Afghanistan, Friday.

“This is a good break and good pause for all stakeholders to look into the negotiations so far (between US and Taliban). They were very scared all this time as to what would be the outcome and if that would last … Today the country is at a different juncture. The main concerns that the Afghan people have today is what’s next for Afghanistan because the players and stakeholders are too many,” Qadiry said.

He was speaking at a panel discussion ‘Options for Afghanistan: The Trump Tweets and After’ organised by the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, which was moderated by Jyoti Malhotra, National and Strategic Affairs Editor at ThePrint.

The envoy also said that the Afghan government is committed to holding elections because “that is the way forward”.

Qadiry added that it was up to the Taliban to integrate with the Afghan community and not the other way round. He, however, said there are certain “red lines” which the Taliban has to follow if it is serious about integration — some of these include women’s rights and freedom of expression.

“We are holding the elections on 28 September. The Afghan negotiators are all ready for the intra-Afghan dialogue but the Taliban has to be ready. There’s a generation there in Afghanistan that believes in a bright future,” he said.


Also read: Taliban threats loom but Afghanistan to go ahead with election on 28 September


‘Don’t think Taliban has changed’

On the role of Pakistan — which had facilitated the talks between the US and the Taliban — Qadiry said that Kabul still remains concerned about the cross-border insurgency being fanned by Islamabad.

“We are integrating with the Taliban but they are not. The new generation is not stuck in history. They are connected with the world. The Taliban needs to come out and say that they have changed. But I don’t think they have changed because they still resort to violence. On what basis will Taliban accept the Constitution?” he asked.

Jayant Prasad, former Ambassador of India to Kabul, said the intra-Afghan dialogue, which the Afghan government was keen to pursue with the Taliban, will happen only when the US is able to completely pull out its troops from there.

Prasad, who is also a former director general at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, also stated that negotiations between the US and Taliban will “quickly resume” and this was only a temporary pause.

“The people there want an end to violence. There has to be more pressure, more cajoling of Pakistan as it remains crucial for Afghanistan’s future. But to expect Pakistan to behave well is difficult but without them in the room it will be difficult to have peace for what happened in the past,” he said.

Amar Sinha, who had also served in Afghanistan as India’s envoy and later became secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs before his retirement, also agreed that the talks will begin soon between the US and the Taliban.

“This was the global war on terror. It is their responsibility. It is now driven by the political calendar. We have to understand that the talks are basically between US and Pakistan. Taliban is just a front,” Sinha added.

‘Afghanisation of security forces’

Saad Mohseni of the MOBY Group, a Dubai-based media company, said the breakdown of talks — which was announced by President Donald Trump Sunday — came as a “setback” for Zalmay Khalilzad, a US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, who was Trump’s point person to conclude the peace deal.

Meanwhile, Gautam Mukhopadhaya, former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, also questioned the legitimacy of the peace process, which was being spearheaded by the US, as it did not have an official authorisation from the Afghan government headed by President Ashraf Ghani.

Mukhopadhaya also advised an “Afghanisation” of its security forces and less dependency on international troops. In this aspect, Mukhopadhaya said, “Afghanistan can follow some of the South Asian models of running robust armed forces in relatively smaller budgets.”


Also read: India should lobby for Afghan govt on Taliban peace talks, says envoy


 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Pakistan will face major embarrassment at the UNHRC after an NGO submitted a petition at the session against enforced disappearances, with the Pakistan Army singled out as the biggest perpetrator behind these disappearances, misuse of blasphemy laws and discrimination against religious minorities, including Christians, besides the Shia community, ET has learnt.Another petition before the UNHRC alleges that between 1987 and 2017, 1,500 people or more were charged with blasphemy, of which 730 were Muslims, 501 were Ahmadis, 205 Christians and 26 were Hindus.
    On August 21, a group of religious minorities submitted a 10-point memorandum to the Pakistani government demanding recognition of their human rights.
    The memorandum demands that the minimum marriage age be raised from 16 to 18, the creation of a federal ministry for religious minorities; a 5% quota for scholarships; protection for houses of worship; legislation to prevent discrimination in employment, education and society; designated prayer locations in public places; removal of books promoting hate against religious minorities; and criminal justice reforms to protect women from the daily violence they face, including abductions, sexual violence and forced conversions. UNHRC must first ask Pakistan to vacate the illegal occupation of POK to India and all becomes integral part of India them the gift of land given to china on the illegally occupied territory, these muslims where there is high human violations, they will come into India fold. UNHRC must strongly give the message to erase terrorist in Pakistan, and once POK is handed to India all the terrorists hub will be eradicated, let us recollect what happened in Christchurch New Zealand, christian terrorism in mosque, it must not grow, if Muslims take guns, the Christians will also take guns, let UNHRC understand that in the entire world each country must eridacate terrorism, the major hub in the world is Pakistan the world knows.

  2. The Taliban is dismissive of the Afghan government, considers it a stooge of the US. An equally unfair comment would be to dismiss the Taliban as a stooge of Pakistan. The election should proceed, with a strict control over violence. Social gains made by Afghanistan since 2001, most importantly the enhanced role of women, should be protected at all costs. If Pakistan really has so much control over developments in Afghanistan, its fragile economic condition makes it amenable to pressure for good behaviour. For that matter, Afghanistan too will need a lot of financial support on a continuing basis. India should not get in anyone’s hair, we have enough dukh dard of our own.

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