October 16, 2014
KABUL, Oct. 16 — After assuming office late last month, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced that one of his priorities would be to reopen talks with the Taliban as he called on the insurgent group to respond positively to the peace dialogue that has been started by the previous administration.
“Political disputes should be solved through political means since war is not the solution,” President Ghani said.
But political observers here are pessimistic on the success of the dialogue process, saying the Taliban are bent on pursuing their armed insurrection in order to restore its brutal Islamic rule by re-establishing the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban won’t agree to a peace dialogue unless and until they are defeated in battle ground,” a U.S.-based Afghan political analyst Edris Rahmani told the Afghan media recently.
Rahmani said the pullout of U.S. and NATO-led forces from Afghanistan by the end of the year has only encouraged the Taliban militants to intensify their attacks against government and civilian targets.
He said the Taliban have never abandoned their resolve to regain power through armed struggle.
After it was toppled by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, the Taliban have waged a bloody guerrilla war, staging suicide bomb attacks and ambuscades not just in the provinces but also in the capital Kabul.
Another political observer said the Taliban, which have been discredited by the Afghan people for imposing strict Sharia law during its reign, are still trying to return to power.
What the insurgents are trying to achieve is to sabotage the newly-formed national unity government in the country by stepping up its armed attacks now targeting “soft targets” in Kabul.
Since the start of this month, the insurgent group has conducted a series of attacks, including eight suicide bombings, across the country, leaving more than 60 people dead and scores of others injured that included civilians.
On Tuesday, the militants attacked the motorcade of Governor Omar Zawak of Nad Ali District in the southern Helmand province, killing the governor along with a policeman while six more police officers were injured in the attack, according to the spokesman for Helmand’s governor.
In a statement sent to media outlets recently, the Taliban described the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2014 as “a defeat of occupying troops” even as it vowed to continue the war “until the complete eviction of all foreign forces from the country.”
As expected, the Taliban also slammed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) signed recently by the new Afghan government with Washington, saying it would only serve the interests of the United States.
The BSA, which former President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign during his administration, would allow some 10,000 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to assist the Afghan security forces in promoting stability in the country.
The Taliban said they do not recognize any security agreements entered into by the Afghan government. They said the mujahideens or holy warriors of the Islamic Emirate would continue to fight against all foreign forces in the country until their complete eviction.
Meanwhile, Ismael Qasimyar, a senior member of the government- backed peace body, the High Peace Council, recently revealed to media that former President Karzai, in order to win Islamabad’s support in the Afghan peace process, had visited Pakistan more than 20 times but all his efforts were in vain.
Qasimyar said the new government of Afghanistan should re- establish contacts with the Pakistani government since Islamabad has a key role to play in any peace initiatives with the Taliban.
For his part, Ahmad Sayedi, a former Afghan diplomat and a respected political analyst, said that since most Taliban sanctuaries are outside Afghanistan, “all efforts for peace would be useless unless Taliban’s financial resources are blocked and their backers are pressured to stop giving support to the militant group.”
Although Sayedi did not specifically mention any country, he was obviously referring to Pakistan as one of the backers of the Taliban since the insurgent group has several sanctuaries in the mountains that straddle the boundaries of Afghanistan and Pakistan.