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No compromise on constitution, rights, says Afghan govt official as efforts towards Taliban peace talks resume

Ruchi Kumar | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:15 IST
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  • Representatives of the US, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, referred to as Quadrilateral Coordination Committee, are meeting to lay guidelines for peace talks with Taliban.
  • Afghan government will engage only with those Taliban members who are willing to reconcile; military solutions will be used against those who continue to fight.
  • Afghan women will be represented in the eventual peace talks with Taliban

This Monday saw the first in what will be a series of meetings on resuming peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Conducted between representatives of four nations, namely the US, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, referred to as the Quadrilateral Coordination Committee (QCC), the meeting laid down guidelines for what will become an eventual road map to peace between the warring factions.

Representatives of the Taliban were not part of the meeting. Primarily, the group finds itself splintered following the revelation last year that their founding leader, Mulla Omar, had been dead since 2013."This isn't the peace talks," Javid Faisal, deputy spokesperson to Afghan Chief Executive explained. "These are meetings to decide on the peace talks. In these meetings, the next of which will be hosted Kabul on January 18, we will decide on the components of the peace talks," he said.

While certain breakaway factions of the Taliban have expressed interest to participate in the eventual peace talks, it is yet to be ascertained as to who the Afghan government will engage with. "The QCC members are putting together information on those Taliban who are willing to join the peace process," Faisal shared. "This is a Joint Counter Terrorism Platform and we will all bring to the table information we have on insurgent forces within Afghanistan. We will engage only with those who are reconcilable," he added. And the rest?"Afghanistan will use military solution against those who continue to fight against the Afghan people," he affirmed.

He also added that the government will not be engaging with foreign terrorists, ruling out any possibility of involving groups with affiliations to Daesh or other regional insurgencies. "The peace process is entirely Afghan owned and led," he reiterated.

In yesterday's meeting, Pakistan's representative, Foreign Affairs Minister Sartaj Aziz, proposed four guidelines for the process. Among them, he suggested incentivising conditions to attract Taliban away from using violence.

The Afghan government will not be discussing incentive, Faisal said.

Aziz also urged that preconditions not be set ahead of the talks. However, with regards to certain matters, the Afghan government refuses to compromise, Faisal informed. "Afghanistan wants peace that is dignified, supports the constitution and uphold the rights of the Afghan people. There will be absolutely no compromise on our achievements of the past 12 years, including those in women's rights, freedom of speech, press freedoms," he stressed.

On the matter of involving women in the peace process, Faisal assured that although the delegation for the peace talks had not yet been confirmed, women would definitely find representation.

He also informed that the timeline for the talks had not been confirmed yet. "But all sides agree that the peace process should be resumed without much delay," he added.

First published: 13 January 2016, 11:16 IST
 
Ruchi Kumar @RuchiKumar

Ruchi Kumar is an Indian journalist living in Kabul with her cat Bukhari. On most days, she reports on the ongoings in the region. Rest of the time, she reads, writes and wanders around Kabul looking for people who will tell stories.

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