The participation of India within the inaugural session of the negotiations was welcomed by the folks of Afghanistan and likewise the remainder of the worldwide neighborhood, says Afghanistan’s Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation
Afghanistan’s Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation has been in Delhi this week to temporary the federal government on the Doha peace talks with the Taliban. Speaking to The Hindu, he stated he obtained India’s full help for the peace course of in talks with PM Narendra Modi, NSA Ajit Doval and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
You stated you might be on a mission to construct regional consensus for the reconciliation course of. Were there particular assurances you had been hoping for throughout your go to to New Delhi?
Well, it wasn’t like we had been anticipating one thing particular — extra like we had been exchanging our views. India has been supportive of the folks of Afghanistan, supportive of the peace course of and we needed to share the small print of what’s going on and see how greatest every nation can contribute to that was the intention of the go to. I discovered very pleasant viewers like all the time. All the leaders that I met had been supportive of the folks of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, a unified Afghanistan, and likewise a peaceable Afghanistan, and supportive of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace course of. It’s a standard view between us and India.
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India has taken one step by attending the inauguration of the Doha talks, the primary time an Indian official has truly addressed a gathering together with the Taliban. Did you discuss whether or not India would engage the Taliban extra immediately now?
The participation of India within the inaugural session of the negotiations was welcomed by the folks of Afghanistan and likewise the remainder of the worldwide neighborhood. All the international locations of the area, within the neighbourhood, are being affected due to the continuation of the battle in Afghanistan. A peaceable Afghanistan shall be a possibility, so India shall be additional engaged there. I didn’t have a selected suggestion so far as engagement with the Taliban is worried, however I’ll say India shall be taking part in an vital function, lively function with the remainder of the companions of the worldwide neighborhood from the area [in the process] and past.
India has at instances been minimize out of the method. Like for instance when the six plus two plus one regional discussions had been held, it didn’t embody India. Do you suppose India shall be included in all future regional conversations?
I believe so. We ought to keep in mind that these negotiations solely actually began in September, and prior to that these had been discussions in several quarters and international locations. But talks have began now between the Afghans. India’s stand is that as long as the end result is appropriate for the folks of Afghanistan, and isn’t a menace to anyone, via harbouring terrorism or different means, that shall be acceptable for India. That is a really principled place which is welcomed.
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One of the excellent points has been the shortage of a ceasefire announcement by the Taliban. And a big a part of the Taliban management does reside in Pakistan. Did you obtain any assurances on Pakistan’s help when it comes to saying a ceasefire, throughout your go to there final week?
[We are still hopeful of] a ceasefire or vital discount in violence. [Pakistani officials] had been supportive of that concept they usually additionally promised that they’ll talk this and they’re going to attempt to use their very own affect to obtain that. We had intensive discussions on that in addition to different points of the scenario, for a peaceable Afghanistan. And thereby, I used to be assured that they’ll make efforts.
Even so, are you in any respect hopeful? I’m simply trying on the figures — 1,300 civilian casualties within the first half of this 12 months, a 60% rise in assaults on Afghan forces from this quarter in contrast to the earlier quarter….
If you communicate of the expectations of the folks of Afghanistan, they had been anticipating that because the talks begin, we may have a ceasefire or a big discount in violence. Our negotiating group was prepared from day one to begin discussions on a ceasefire. But these are difficult conditions and we’re solely assembly the Taliban for talks now, reasonably than within the battle zones as we’ve got for the previous three a long time. We will not be underneath any illusions in regards to the challenges that we’re confronted with. The progress up to now has been sluggish. Hopefully, with the assistance of various gamers and likewise with the endurance that we’ll present, the civility we’ll present there shall be a transition to much less violence.
But will talks proceed no matter whether or not that violence continues?
The talks ought to proceed. But it’s not as if the violence can proceed perpetually and the talks will proceed perpetually. Without progress within the talks that’s not viable, that’s not sustainable and we do need to get to the opposite components of the agenda.
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What else is a part of the talks? While the federal government has stated the political construction of Afghanistan just isn’t negotiable, from the Taliban facet, the understanding appears to be that the whole lot is on the desk. So, is there a backside line that claims democracy is non-negotiable, the rights of ladies and minorities are non-negotiable?
Taliban will increase their very own concepts and we’ll increase our personal concepts. Can we agree on a standard stand which accommodates the completely different views? The query is can we agree that whereas sustaining completely different views, we reside in a single system and compete and contest for the realisation of these concepts peacefully, via civil and peaceable means? That’s the underside line.
Are you on the identical web page because the Afghan authorities? Just 10 months in the past, you had been in a authorized battle with President Ghani contesting the presidential elections you each fought. Do you’re feeling that the variations that you just and President Ghani have had are an obstacle to the peace course of?
That’s democracy. Given the truth that we contested elections [against each other] signifies that we weren’t on the identical web page on some points. But when it’s within the curiosity of the nation, within the curiosity of peaceable Afghanistan, democratic Afghanistan, an Afghanistan which respects the rights of its residents, males, ladies, minorities and others, on that we’re on the identical web page.
President Trump has already stated that by Christmas, he hopes to have U.S. troops return. Other officers have stated possibly 2,500 troops will stay in Afghanistan. Are you additionally contemplating the potential want for a regional peacekeeping power if the Americans do pull out utterly?
First of all, on the latest announcement by President Trump, the small print will not be but out there to us. They already had introduced in accordance to their settlement, to hold 4,500 troops and to pull-out the remainder of it, which shall be accomplished by November. So, we aren’t certain what these bulletins refer to. But ultimately, Afghanistan wants to stand by itself ft and help from the area for a peaceable, inclusive settlement in Afghanistan is vital. Hopefully, we’ll get to an settlement that that won’t require safety forces from different international locations to hold us secure.
But have you ever mentioned that risk in India?
No, no, that was not a part of our discussions.
As a part of the Northern Alliance you fought with the Taliban for years. In authorities you had been focused, suffered assaults. Have you reconciled with a course of that may convey the identical folks into the mainstream, maybe into a spot of energy in authorities, that you’ve fought for a lot of your life?
The level is that I’ve fought for sure ideas in my life — the independence of Afghanistan, sure liberties, the rights of the folks and people values. And that won’t change. What kind of form that combating will take, whether or not we will combat for it via peaceable means and with out resorting to violence, that may change. What occurred to me, and I survived a number of assaults, some very shut calls. But take a look at the struggling of the folks: generally as many as 50-100 persons are killed in in the future, generally, that wants to come to an finish. That’s way more than these feelings or emotions and definitely when it comes to my expertise in Afghanistan, I imagine that there aren’t any winners in a battle, there aren’t any losers in an inclusive, peaceable settlement.
Are you saying peace at any value?
An acceptable, dignified, sustainable peace.