THE Afghan peace accord seems to be running into a stalemate. The first contention arose when President Ashraf Ghani refused to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners before the formal talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Norway on March 10.
The Taliban refused to meet the Afghan delegation before the prisoners’ issue was resolved as per the peace agreement. Saner heads prevailed and President Ashraf Ghani announced that the Taliban prisoners would be set free.
Meanwhile, the Taliban dropped their own bombshell. In a statement they said that it was their duty to set up the ‘Islamic government in Afghanistan’ that existed before US forces toppled their government in Kabul in 2001. The Taliban asserted that their leader Mullah Haibutillah was the ‘only legal ruler of Afghanistan’ and after the withdrawal of foreign troops, it was their right to make a legal claim for forming an Islamic government in Kabul. The US and Russia reacted immediately and both Washington and Moscow issued a statement that they would not accept an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan.
One can only hope and pray that all Afghan parties to the conflict make sincere effort for the success of the peace agreement, so that Afghans get a break from decades of conflict and bloodshed.
Akbar Jan Marwat
TWO Afghan politicians — Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah — both claiming they have won the presidential election have declared themselves president at rival inauguration ceremonies.
The Afghan electoral commission says incumbent Ashraf Ghani narrowly won the vote, while rival Abdullah Abdullah has alleged the result is fraudulent. This development has come as the Afghanistan prepares for peace talks.
One fears this political rivalry will gravely affect the forthcoming intra-Afghan talks. The bitter feud between President Ghani and his former chief executive Abdullah Abdullah will only bring chaos.
One fervently prays and hopes for an early and peaceful solution to the imbroglio as it is Pakistan that has suffered most because of the Afghan conflict.
Syed Tahir Rashdi
Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2020