Talks will have little impact on Taliban fighting on the ground unless relevant stakeholders are involved (Image, Mirror)
Yesterday I reported on the news that the Official Account of the Office of the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani – ARG had announced on Twitter that a delegation from the High Peace Council of Afghanistan had traveled to Pakistan for negotiations with the Taliban. See following link,
“Afghanistan: Talks with the Taliban, does the Taliban know?”
Today the media has been full of articles on a meeting of stakeholders hoping for peace which was held in Murree, a hill-station 60 km north-east of Islamabad. However, tweets from Abdulqahar Balkhi, an English speaking account affiliated to Islamic Emirate spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid appeared underwhelmed by events which suggested that so called “high-level talks” may not have met with approval of main Taliban leadership.
I asked, “are Mujahideen on the ground supporting negotiations? Will Azm (the Taliban offensive named ‘Resolve’) continue as usual?”
Abdulqahar Balkhi tweeted as follows,
Shahamat English (official Taliban publication) statement of Islamic Emirate #Qatar office rejects participation of any member/s
I was guided to the following statement:-
Statement of Islamic Emirate regarding its political affairs
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan regularly undertakes reforms in its organizational structure and officials’ capacities to further its political objectives. Such organizational reforms have been the norm in Islamic Emirate’s policies since the Islamic Movement’s inception.
On this basis, from now onwards all of Islamic Emirate’s foreign and internal political affairs are entrusted to the Islamic Emirate’s Political Office as their sole responsibility. The Political Office has full capacity and agency powers to conduct or postpone, in light of Islamic principles and national interests, negotiations with internal and foreign parties wherever and whenever it deems suitable.
Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
21/09/1436 Hijri Lunar
17/04/1394 Hijri Solar 08/07/2015 Gregorian
I was also referred to the following NunnAsia article (Urdu) http://www.nunn.asia/48766/%DA%89%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%BC%D8%B1-%D9%86%D8%B9%DB%8C%D9%85-%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%AF%DA%AB-%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF-%D9%BE%D9%87-%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%88-%DA%A9%DB%90/
Balkhi continued tweeting,
negotiations, talks, all political affairs will be made public by the Islamic Emirate as previously announced in statements
Islamic Emirate does not believe in talks/negotiations behind curtains, Muslims/Afghans have the right to know what is happening
Balkhi then posted the following New York Times article,
The above article was accompanied by the following tweet,
Taliban’s official political office in Qatar “not authorized” “hijacked”
The muddle of Murree…
So back to the muddle of Murree. Who was there? The Wall Street Journal reported than an eight-member Afghan delegation had arrived in the capital “headed by Mullah Abbas Akhund, who served as health minister when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.” Hekmat Khalil Karzai, deputy minister of foreign affairs and a relative of former Afghan President Hamid Karzai was also believed to be in attendance. According to WSJ other participants included, “Haji Din Mohammad, an adviser to the Afghan president, and Mohammad Asem, governor of Afghanistan’s Parwan province and a close aide to Abdullah Abdullah, Mr. Ghani’s coalition partner.” Observers from the US and China were also said to be present.
According to Al Jazeera, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s office confusingly hailed talks as a “breakthrough” and warned efforts should be made to ensure “that nobody tries to derail this process”. If you are going to talk peace with the Taliban you have to enter in discussion with those who control what is happening on the ground. Its pointless talking about “engendering trust” and “confidence building” without all the relevant stakeholders. Given the Taliban statement and most recent comments, it does not seem there is a meaningful process yet started to actually derail.
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.