KABUL (Pajhwok): Fighting intensified last week which proved the deadliest since the beginning the New Year for civilians while the cancelation of Istanbul meeting on Afghan peace process shattered people’s hopes for peace in the country.
- Turkey meeting on Afghan peace process canceled till unknown time
- Taliban delegation traveled to Pakistan for consultation on Turkey Conference
- Taliban say they will not take part in any meeting on Afghanistan until all foreign forces exit
- Delay of Turkey Conference also puts on hold talks in Doha
- In trilateral Turkey meeting, Pakistan was asked to encourage Taliban to participate in Istanbul Meeting
- ‘We will not shun the republic in midway. Pakistan should stop supporting Taliban’: President Ghani
- ‘We are ready to shorten president Ghani’s tenure and transfer power to people’: Saleh
- Over 100 civilians killed and wounded last week in Afghanistan
Attacks and civilian casualties:
Last week 37 civilians were killed and 65 others injured in 19 attacks in 14 provinces of the country. The attacks took place in Herat, Kandahar, Balkh, Ghazni, Baghlan, Ghor, Jawzjan, Laghman, Paktia, Faryab, Kabul, MaidanWardak and Zabul provinces.
No group claimed responsibility for these attacks.
The Taliban and government have not spoken about last week civilian casualties. Last week was the deadliest over the past five weeks of new solar year.
In these attacks, security forces and the Taliban also suffered casualties but Pajhwok did not publish the figures because enough information with authentic sources was not available to support their casualty figures.
According to Hasht-e-Subh Newspaper, in the past 100 days, 3,500 people, including security personnel and militants, were killed and injured.
Turkey meeting delayed:
Under the auspices of the United Nations, a multilateral meeting featuring Afghan government, the Taliban and Afghan politicians was scheduled to be convened on April 24 in Turkey’s Istanbul, but the Taliban denied participating in the meeting and said until the full withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan the Taliban would not take part in such meetings.
In line with the US and Taliban Doha Agreement, foreign forces should have left Afghanistan by May1, but US and NATO recently announced to begin the pullout of their troops by May 1 and the process will be completed until September 11.
Sources close to the Taliban said the group offered conditional participation in Turkey meeting and their demands are the release of 7,000 prisoners and removal of the Taliban leadership names from UN black list.
US, Turkey and Qatar strived to convince the Taliban to participate in Turkey meeting but they refused thus the meeting was delayed until unknown time.
This comes as the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) issued the list of participants in Turkey Conference, while Afghan government and different political parties and institutions presented around 30 peace proposals to the peace body. The Afghan government also announced participation in the meeting and said that Kabul will present the government strategy to the meeting.
President Ashraf Ghani last week said that he will not allow closing of the chapter of republic in the midway, while Vice President Amrullah Saleh said government was ready to deduct presidential tenure and transfer power to the people.
Despite preparations, the delay in holding of the Turkey Conference showed that participation of the Taliban in the meeting being an important side of the dispute was crucial and without the Taliban organization of such meeting is a futile exercise.
But Afghan government said that declining to participate in Turkey meeting showed the Taliban were not ready for reconciliation and peaceful settlement.
People were hopeful about Turkey meeting on Afghan peace process since the HCNR announced that this meeting will be decisive one. But the news regarding the delay of the meeting shattered public hopes and expectations.
Convincing Taliban for Turkey Meeting:
On April 23, a trilateral meeting of Afghanistan, Turkey and Pakistan foreign ministers held aimed at encouraging the Taliban to participate in Turkey meeting. Afghanistan foreign minister asked Pakistan to put pressure on the Taliban to take part in Istanbul meeting.
On April 22, some media outlets reported citing well placed sources that the Taliban delegation traveled to Pakistan for consultations with their leaders on delay in the withdrawal of foreign forces and their participation in Turkey meeting. The Taliban have not official commented in this regard, but Afghan vice president claimed the Taliban traveled to Pakistan for consultation with ISI.
President Ghani also last week asked Pakistan to choose between friendship and enmity with Pakistan
After the delay of Turkey meeting, intra-Afghan talks in Doha also stopped.
Public and political parties’ gatherings:
Senior Jamiat-e-Islami Leader Mohammad Ismael Khan told a gathering in Herat province that foreign forces will leave Afghanistan in five months and this opportunity should be best utilized for peace not for fighting.
Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan Councils Union welcomed the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and asked conflicting parties to participate in Turkey meeting.
In Laghman, a gathering was organized in support of republican system, while in Nangarhar, Kunduz and Logar people in different gatherings asked conflicting parties to enter ceasefire and stop fighting.