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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Determining the future of peace talks in Afghanistan

Pakistan had sent a secret delegation to Afghanistan to hold talks with the TPP earlier in January. The effort to revive the negotiations is in light of the TTP’s intensifying assaults against the Pakistani security force and to pre-empt the TTP-Islamic State-Khorasan (IS-K) nexus.

After the change in the regime in Afghanistan, significant developments occurred in the region. Apart from other major happenings, remarkable progress was witnessed in the peace process between the Pakistani establishment and the outlawed Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Both parties held a series of talks in the capital of Afghanistan, in which they agreed upon several matters, while several others were in the process of discussion.  However, it has been a few weeks since there is an ambiguous atmosphere between TTP and Pakistan state agencies, in terms of peace talks.

There are several reasons which show that there is a possible deadlock between the two negotiating parties, thus both are reluctant to further the peace process. As there are several gray areas regarding the peace talks on one hand; the TTP on the other hand has increased its so-called defensive attacks in the various parts of the country. Such situations have made peace talks uncertain and their future is looking indecisive in the coming time.

Read more: Taliban opposition leader pushes for a new political front

The leadership of TTP has gone underground due to security reasons

In the last few weeks, a number of top individuals from the TTP were targeted in various areas of Afghanistan. Omar Khalid Khorasani is a major example in this regard who was targeted in a roadside explosion in the Paktika province of Afghanistan. Similarly, the risks of drone attacks are increasing day by day. In the previous month of August, the US drone attack killed Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri, which is a serious concern not only for the leadership of the Afghanistan Taliban but for that other terrorist outlets as well. Keeping the increasing security concerns in mind, the TTP leadership is not only worried but also alert in this regard. Therefore, they are more focused on their security and are unwilling to pursue peace talks with the Pakistani state.

More importantly, it is notable that the current Afghanistan government which is comprised of the Afghan Taliban plays a major role in bringing TTP to the peace talks with the establishment of Pakistan. The in-term interior minister of Afghanistan and one of the Key figures in the Islamic Emirates, Sirajudin Haqani played a significant role as a bridge between the outlawed organization and Pakistani intelligence agencies. But currently, a sort of mistrust is developing between the officials of Pakistan and the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan due to many reasons.

Few incidents on the soil of Afghanistan such as several US Drones attacks, and target killings of TTP leaders and other militants by unknown persons have made the situations complex. A few weeks ago, Ayman Zawahiri, the Al-Qaeda chief was killed in a US drone attack in Afghanistan. Mullah Yaqoob, Taliban’s defense minister blamed Pakistan for facilitating US drone attacks against Afghanistan. Moreover, there are several other matters related to border security, due to which differences are found between the officials of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is due to the mentioned factors that, the Afghan Taliban has stepped back from pushing TTP anymore in order to continue peace talks with the Pakistani authorities. Therefore, there is an ambiguous situation, and the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan is looking reluctant in facilitating the peace process.

Read more: Taliban claim that the US “usurped” Afghanistan’s frozen assets

Similarly, the recent public opinion of the people has also greatly influenced the peace talks with the TTP. Although the civil government partially endorsed the peace talks in front of the camera session, it was hesitant regarding the process behind the scenes. A few days ago, a massive number of people came out on roads in various areas of Malakand Division and the Former tribal region, in order to record their protest against the recent waves of terrorism in the country. Moreover, they openly criticized the decisions behind closed doors and urged clear policy regarding peace talks. The such public opinion further pushed the civil government to think about future outcomes, strictly in the political context. Thus, there are serious reservations of political entities regarding the ongoing peace talks as a result of which there is a delay in the process.

In order to make sure a sustainable and long-lasting result of the process, it is extremely important that the state of Pakistan not only make a comprehensive consensus on the forum of parliament, regarding the peace talks but overcome the reservations of brother Islamic countries on various issues as well. By doing this, it will not only make effective peace talks but those talks will also be greatly acceptable to the people.

 

The writer currently works as a Research Associate at the International Parliamentarians’ Congress Islamabad. He has wide experience in writing for various newspapers and can be reached at barkatullahbarakaat@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.