Peace talks between the Islamic Taliban movement and the Afghan government have begun in the Qatari capital, Doha. The peace talks should put an end to almost twenty years of war in Afghanistan.
At the opening ceremony, which was also attended by his US counterpart Pompeo, the Qatar Secretary of State said he hoped for an outcome without winners or losers. The parties must rise above all divisions, said Secretary of State Thani.
Pompeo called on the parties to exchange violence and corruption for peace and prosperity. You are negotiating not only for this generation of Afghans, but also for future generations, he said. According to him, it is up to the Afghans themselves which political system will be chosen.
Difficult negotiations expected
The head of the Afghan Government’s negotiating delegation said beforehand that the parties do not have to agree on everything, but that it is important that an agreement is reached ‘in everyone’s interest’.
The Taliban expect difficult negotiations in which patience will be important, but which must ultimately lead to a ‘peaceful and stable’ Afghanistan.
Representatives of the Taliban and Afghan Governments express their wish to achieve a lasting peace (english spoken):
The peace talks are historic; the parties have never met before. The US is responsible for the framework of the negotiations through an agreement with the Taliban in February, which included the release of 5,000 prisoners.
Before that agreement, the Taliban refused to sit down with the government. The Taliban see the Afghan Government as a puppet of the Americans, so they only wanted to talk to the US, says correspondent Aletta André in the CCeit Radio 1 News.
Political future in Afghanistan
The attacks on 11 September 2001 in the USA yesterday, nineteen years ago, were the start of the conflict in Afghanistan. It is now the longest-running war in American military history.
According to correspondent André, the peace process has been accelerated, particularly under President Trump. The main objective is to conclude the talks before the presidential elections, so that the troops can be withdrawn for good, said André. This will enable Trump to fulfil an electoral promise.
In the agreement with the US it was agreed that in Doha the parties should agree, inter alia, on a permanent ceasefire. The question, according to André, is whether this will succeed. It will also be about the political future of Afghanistan, she says.
How, for example, is the country going to be governed? What will be left of the constitution and of the democratic institutions and systems established in cooperation with the USA after 2001? And how are the current elected leaders going to share power with the current members of the Taliban, she lists a number of points of contention.
Who are the Taliban and what do they want? Watch it in this video:
André expects that the 21-member negotiating team of the Afghan Government will want as little as possible to change the current situation. It is also questionable to what extent the Taliban team, which also has 21 members, is prepared to compromise.
In their original positions they want to go back to the extremely strict Islamic emirate they ruled in the 1990s, André explains. In the areas where they are now in power, you can also see that it is quite strict. Although girls do go to school, women cannot really participate in public life
Furthermore, Taliban leaders and spokesmen have repeatedly said in recent years that they want to rewrite the constitution and that Afghanistan’s democracy in its current form is a Western import product that they do not support. So there is still a great deal on the table’