Opinion: Clear demands but little hope of success after Kabul peace assembly | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 04.06.2010
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Opinion: Clear demands but little hope of success after Kabul peace assembly

The peace jirga in Afghanistan has come to an end. Some 1,600 tribal elders and religious leaders agreed to make peace with the Taliban. But prospects of peace are bleak, says Deutsche Welle's Ratbil Shamel.


Once again a jirga has come to an end in Kabul and once again it has done what the ruling government wanted.

Namely, it has presented the government's suggestions as the people's wishes. This time, the jirga has handed the government a mandate to enter peace negotiations with the Taliban. It would like Hizb-e-Islami, the party of the warlord and politician Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, to be involved as well.

The jirga wants the Afghan government and the international community to guarantee political and legal security to all those who reject the Taliban and al Qaeda.

The Taliban will also be called upon to discuss their demands with Kabul and to stop working with the terrorist organization al Qaeda. All fighting parties will be asked to protect the safety and rights of the civilian population instead of putting them in danger.

Afghan delegates walk outside the site of the peace jirga in Kabul

Afghan delegates walk outside the site of the peace jirga in Kabul

The demands of the peace jirga are very much in tune with the Afghan president's wishes. He has been trying to persuade the Taliban to come to the negotiating table for at least five years but to little avail. At first, he could not convince anyone of his idea to integrate moderate Taliban back into public life, finding support for it neither at home nor abroad. But half a decade later, he has succeeded.

The population has wanted nothing but peace in over 30 years of war. In the past nine years, the US and its allies have not been able to solve the problem of the Taliban. Now President Hamid Karzai, amid general helplessness, has eyed his chance to take things into his own hands at last.

But he and his advisors know that for there to be longstanding peace in Afghanistan, they not only need the US on their side, but also regional big powers such as Russia, China and India.

There can also be no peace without the close cooperation of Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

All these countries see their fundamental interests threatened by an Afghanistan under US influence. This means that a peace jirga in Kabul only makes sense if prior agreements have been made between the US and Afghanistan's neighbors. However, these have never been made.

Moreover, the Taliban and al Qaeda will never be ready to agree to peace in Afghanistan as long as there are places they can retreat to abroad and people willing to support them.

The Taliban and al Qaeda leadership want the establishment of a worldwide Islamic empire. They want this world to be cleansed of unbelievers. So, the resolutions of a peace jirga are meaningless to Taliban and al Qaeda leaders. They will continue their fight in Afghanistan.

Author: Ratbil Shamel / act
Editor: Disha Uppal

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