He will try to undermine and sabotage the process. He may even encourage destructive actions. – Wahed Faqiri
The Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has announced that he won’t cooperate with the release of 5000 Taliban prisoners as stipulated in the US-Taliban agreement. The Afghan Eye spoke to prominent Afghan writer and political commentator Wahed Faqiri to comment on president Ashraf Ghani’s approach towards peace.
The Afghan peace process has reached a historic momentum yesterday. The United States and the Taliban movement have finally signed an agreement in order to bring peace after almost two decades of war. The agreement was signed yesterday in Doha by US special representative for Afghan Peace, Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban movement’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Bradar Akhund. According to the document, the US troops will gradually pull out of Afghanistan in the next 14 months.
The next step in the Afghan peace process is the release of more than 5000 Taliban prisoners and the start of intra-Afghan talks. However, Ashraf Ghani has refused the release of prisoners. During a press conference earlier today, Ashraf Ghani said that the Taliban may discuss release of prisoners during intra-Afghan talks, however he won’t allow any release of prisoners immediately, the 10th March being the deadline, as required by the agreement signed in Doha yesterday.
A Taliban delegation is set to meet a delegation representing the Afghan government and different political factions in Afghanistan. While the Taliban have been exceptionally united, the Afghan government has been marred by internal division and conflict. Furthermore, current Afghan president Ashraf Ghani seemed reluctant and sometimes even overtly critical of US-Taliban peace efforts.
The Afghan Eye sat down with Wahed Faqiri to assess his perspective on the Doha Deal and upcoming developments in Afghanistan as stipulated by the historic agreement.
Wahed Faqiri is an analyst and commentator who monitors Afghanistan’s current affairs. He is followed by thousands of Afghans on social media who comment and share his insights.
Mr Faqiri, can you please explain what the main objections are of Afghan politicians against the US-Taliban Deal?
Well, the main objections of Ashraf Ghani, and his running mate, Amrullah Saleh are that they are not a significant part of the deal, that they are excluded and therefore humiliated. Furthermore, they believe that the deal legitimizes the Taliban and by extension delegitimizes them. Most importantly, they fear that they will lose political power and become irrelevant.
What is the difference between president Ashraf Ghani’s policy regarding peace efforts and former president Karzai’s policy during his era?
There isn’t a lot of difference between them. Both worried about their power and prestige. Karzai vehemently opposed the US and Taliban peace talks. However, Karzai was more bold and Obama more timid. Yet, Trump is totally different. He is demanding and treats Ghani like a stooge.
Now that the deal is signed, what can we expect from president Ashraf Ghani and his government’s role in the next 14 months?
Like before, he will drag his feet to slow down the process. He will try to undermine and sabotage the process. He may even encourage destructive actions.
The results of last year’s elections are still disputed with no end in sight. Ashraf Ghani’s main contender, Dr. Abdullah has tried to create his own parallel government. How does this affect the legitimacy of Ashraf Ghani and the current government, especially with regards to the current US-Taliban agreement?
The current political crisis will definitely strengthen the Taliban. Already, President Trump is hinting that they may jointly fight against ISIS. When they meet, their mutual trust may grow. Trump has demonstrated he likes strong leaders and despises weak people like Ghani. Moreover, the agreement calls for a new government. I think during the intra Afghan talks the formation of a new government will be the main issue.
Can you please briefly state what you expect from the intra-afghan talks?
An Interim government. It’s the only realistic solution.