KABUL (Pajhwok): Pece efforts on domestic and international levels and preperations for the upcoming Turkey Conference were underway last week but violence increased three times last week compared with the previous week.
Vital efforts taken for peace last week:
- Talks underway in and outside the country on upcoming Turkey Conference
- Some government and other sources expressed optimis for upcoming Turkey Conference
- Different government institutions and some political parties have prepared strategies for the upcoming Turkey Conference
- Gatherings in the support of peace held in six provinces but was prevented in Badakhshan
- Civilian casualties were three times higher than in the previous week.
Attacks and civilians casualties:
Thirty civilians were killed and 55 others injured in 23 attacks. The attacks were carried out — 17 provinces — Baghlan, Balkh, Ghazni, Faryab, Helmand, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapesa, Khost, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika, Takhar, Uruzgan and Maidan Wardak.
The week was more deadly than the previous week. In the previous week 17 civilians were killed and 16 others injured in 10 attacks carried out in eight provinces, but last week, 85 civilians were killed and injured.
Government sources have not spoken in this regard, but the Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed 32 civilians were killed and 29 others injured in security forces attacks in 15 provinces last week. Women and children were among those killed and injured, he said.
No side claimed responsibility for these casualties.
Security forces and the Taliban suffered casualties in these attacks but since credible information is not available regarding the facts and figures of dead and injured personnel and Taliban fighters therefore Pajhowk refrained publishing unathantici information.
Focus on Upcoming Turkey Conference:
Turkey Conference on Afghan peace process is expected in the middle of April in the representation of regional, major powers, the Taliban and Afghan politicans under the auspices of the United Nations.
UNAMA Chief Deborah Lyons held meetings with Afghan government negotiating team, the Taliban negotiating team, Qatar and Turkey representatives in Doha and discussed matters related to upcoming Turkey Conference.
US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Process Zalmay Khalilzad also held meeting with government negotiating team in Qatar. He met Turkish officials in Ankara and Jumbesh-e-Melli Party Head Abdul Rashid Dostum and discussed matters pertaining to peace.
Afghan government negotiating team also known as the republic team said Khalilzad discussed with them how to accelerate peace talks and preparation regarding Turkey Conference. But the Taliban said during a meeting with Khalilzad the full implementation of Doha Agreement was stressed, The Taliban also demanded the release of prisoners and removal of their leadership name from the black list.
Russian Special Representative for Afghanistan Zameer Kabalove said that the Doha Agreement is vital docurment for the political settlement and warned violating the peace agreement could derail years of efforts made for peace and a new phase of voilene could start.
Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said that preparation was underway for the upcoming Turkey Conference and currently the conference agenda was being discussed.
He made the comment at a time when exact date of the Turkey Conference has not announced so far.
Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) said that Afghan government will participate in the upcoming Turkey Conference with full preparation
Sources aware of ongoing peace efforts told Hasht-e-Subh News Paper Turkey Conference has been delayed due to the growing difference among participants.
Other sources have not commented in the regard, but the Taliban Political Office Spokesperson in Qatar Mohammad Naeem said: “Exact information about Turkey Conference is not available. Discussion on the date and time of the conference is premature too.”
Two rival countries with opposing views:
Pakistan’s Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chudary on March 28 said that Afghan conflict has no military solution and stressed foreign forces should leave Afghanistan responsibilly.
Indian Foreign Minister J Shankar last week expressed concern over the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan and presence of foreign militants. He said India supported all efforts towards peace that could ensure ceasefire.
Hopes for peace:
High Council of National Reconciliation (HCNR) Chairman Dr. Abdullah Abdullh said that the upcoming Turkey Summit on Afghanistan would determine the future of Afghanistan.
Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, also last week in a meeting emphasized on foreign foces withdrawal and formation of a transitional government.
He said that he was hopeful about the productivity of Turkey Summit on Afghanistan and said, “All sides would reach an agreement God willing.”
On March 30, Afghan President Asraf Ghani told Heart of Asia Istanbul Process that the Afghan government and its international partners had a shared outlook about the Afghan peace.
“Afghans are hopeful about their future, we do not lose our hopes, when the Afghan government and its international partners have a shared outlook on peace, the peace and stability would be ensured in Afghanistan,” he had said.
Asia Istanbul Process in a joint statement emphasized on peace and stability in Afghanistan as well as reduction of violence and ceasefire but expressed concern over ‘Taliban’s persistence relations with Al Qaeda and other insurgent groups.’
Wolesi Jirga speaker, Mir Rahman Rahmani called Turkey Summit on Afghanistan a historical opportunity and hoped that the Afghan side would present to the summit with a specific and united agenda.
Various peace proposals:
Not only have some parties prepared proposals for peace in Afghanistan, but various government organs have also worked on plans or working for creating one.
There are no more details about the govenrment’s proposal for peace, but Ghani said that he was ready to shift power based on an early election process.
“Ensuring peace is the main topic of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban and the result would be a political agreement which would be approved by the Loya Jirga (grand council). Ceasefire, international observation and regional and international guarantees are needed for trust that would ensure impartiality of Afghanistan,” he said.
He added that the constitution should be the base of for creating a government and the peace should pave way for an election observable by international organizations.
“Our constitution has policies for its amendments and a commission should be created for implementation of each amdenment. The peace government should work for a specific time during which an election should be conducted to ensure the third phase of trust and legitimacy of the process. My biggest pride would be to shift power to my successor; so I support elections in a possible early time,” Ghani added.
HCNR also said that it works on a plan for peace.
Wolesi Jirga speaker, Mir Rahman Rahmani also said that the house would soon prepare a proposal for peace and present it the Turkey Summit.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said that his party would also prepare a plan for peace based on which the power should be shifted to an interim and non-coalition government comprised of neutral people and acceptable to all. Foreign forces should withdraw, a high council should be created to observe activities of the new government and after presidential election, Wolesi Jirga, provincial council and district council elections should be also held together to pave way for formation of Loya Jirga which would make important decisions, he said.
He said that he shared the proposal with all sides inside the country and outside.
Jamiat-i-Islami and Junbish-i-Milli Islami parties also said that they work on creating their own plan for peace. However, the two parties did not provide details about their plans, but Junbish party said that they would probably merge their plan with the proposal of HCNR.
National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said that all peace proposals created by different parties would be shared with each other and then a unified plan would be created out of them.
Mohammad Akram Khpalwak, an advisor of the president said that he has talked with Jamiat and HIA parties so all the parties agree on a single proposal.
Conferences on peace:
Meetings about peace were held in six provinces of the country last week but one was stopped in Badakhshan province.
Afghanistan Salvation Movement (ASM) a newly created party held a meeting in Nangarhar province. Participants of the meeting said that creating different proposals for peace were only excuses and the opportunity for peace had fallen by 50 percent due to non-commitment.
The Afghanistan Mechanism for Inclusive Peace (AMIP), a civil society platform, organized a large gathering of nation-wide tribal elders and representatives in Kabul. The gathering stressed over hearing the voices of common people through a specific mechanism and responsible withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Hundreds of people from Loy Kandahar in a gathering demanded nation-wide peace and stressed the inclusion of Kandahar people in peace strategy and government strategy.
Youth from the country’s Western Zone gathered in Herat University and collected youth views on peace process. They demanded similar gathering in all eight zones of the country.
Participants of three separate gatherings in Balkh, Khost and Laghman provinces lent their support to republic system. Similar gathering was organized in Badakhshan but supports of Jamiat-e-Islami did not allow the event to happen.