Kabul sees Taliban-Afghan opposition talks in Moscow as betrayal

Published February 5, 2019
Moscow had decided to snub Afghan government officials, sources said, to ensure the participation of the Taliban. — File
Moscow had decided to snub Afghan government officials, sources said, to ensure the participation of the Taliban. — File

KABUL: Senior Afghan officials warned on Monday that talks this week between Taliban militants and opposition politicians, including former president Hamid Karzai, betrayed the principles of democracy and Afghanistan’s best interests.

The talks, starting on Tuesday (today) in Moscow, come 10 days after peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar ended with signs of progress towards the withdrawal of thousands of foreign troops from Afghanistan and an end to more than 17 years of war.

Moscow had decided to snub Afghan government officials, sources said, to ensure the participation of the Taliban who refuse to hold talks with representatives of Western-backed President Ashraf Ghani, branding them puppets of the United States.

Fazel Fazly, chief adviser to Ghani, expressed “regret” that politicians who previously led Afghanistan’s democratic transition were to meet the Taliban. “[They] are ready to bypass these principles and move towards [the principles’] destruction due to differences and being away from power,” Fazly said in a Tweet.

Abdullah Abdullah, the government’s chief executive, said the Taliban would have achieved their objective once foreign troops withdrew, ending the need for talks.

While Russian officials are expected to remain in the background, the Moscow talks highlight the growing role Russia is playing in Afghanistan.

Karzai confirmed his attendance at the talks, saying in a tweet he would carry a message of “peace, unity sovereignty and progress for all of us”.

Another delegate to the Moscow sessions, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, an influential former national security adviser to Ghani, said they would emphasise the need to include the government in future intra-Afghan discussions.

But he urged the government not to look at the peace process from a “narrow governmental window”.

Taliban spokesman Zabhullah Mujahid said the conference was about “opening channels to reach an understanding with non-government Afghan political groups”. He said the movement wanted to explain its policies towards an “enduring peace in the homeland and establishment of an intra-Afghan Islamic system of governance”.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

More than economics
Updated 05 Oct, 2022

More than economics

Ishaq Dar’s appointment is but a sign of the paradigm shift in economic policymaking.
Dens of corruption
05 Oct, 2022

Dens of corruption

MOST prisons in Pakistan are a microcosm of the inequitable and exploitative world outside their walls. A probe by...
Football tragedy
05 Oct, 2022

Football tragedy

SPORTS arouses the rawest of human emotions. Football is no exception — in fact, the passions on display at...
Cipher inquiry
Updated 04 Oct, 2022

Cipher inquiry

Inquiry will likely end nowhere, or, worse, be used as a tool of victimisation.
Further delay?
04 Oct, 2022

Further delay?

KARACHI Administrator Murtaza Wahab’s announcement that the second phase of Sindh’s LG polls — primarily...
Losing to England
04 Oct, 2022

Losing to England

AFTER tantalisingly close finishes in the fourth and fifth matches against an England side visiting the country for...