Updates on the Intra-Afghan Peace Process

It has been nearly fifteen months since the US and Taliban signed the Doha Agreement, kicking off the infra-Afghan peace process. During this time, I and other politicians repeatedly shared their views with the leadership of the government about the need for a tangible outcome to the peace talks, the importance of preserving the gains of the past 20 years, and the republican system. In my meetings and discussions with Speakers of other Parliaments, Ambassadors, diplomats, and officials of international organizations, he emphasizes how discriminatory policies and organized corruption among government leadership is negatively impacting the peace process.

A few months ago, the Afghan Parliament formed a committee to monitor and get directly involved in the peace talks. This committee has been closely monitoring the progress of the meetings in Doha between the Afghan Government, Taliban, US and international officials. The committee was established in response to strong concerns among MPs and their constituents that the opportunity for peace is slipping away as the government and Taliban are both putting up roadblocks to peace. Add to that, the discriminatory policies and organized corruption by government leadership that is stoking ethnic divisions in the country, we know the work of our new committee is of vital importance to the future of all Afghans and the fate of the Republic.

In committee, I have introduced a peace proposal as a roadmap to end the Afghan conflict. The key points of the proposal are to preserve the constitution and the structure of the Republic, while replacing the Ghani administration with an interim government. The Parliament is determined to pursue all paths to peace and remove obstacles and delays to reach an agreement. Our agenda is solely focused on doing what is best for the Afghan people, finding a compromise solution. I have been criticized for this stance in Parliament and publicly in the media, but I stand by my comments in committee that as an independent politician, unaffiliated with any political party or group, my responsibility is to act in the best interests of the Afghan people.

The Parliamentary peace committee meets regularly with the High Council for National Reconciliation, the government body that oversees the Republic’s negotiation team in Doha, as well as civil society groups, regional countries, and NATO member governments. The peace committee members provide regular briefings to the full Parliament so that MPs can stay informed throughout the process. If, and when, an agreement is reached, the constitution mandates that Parliament hold a vote to ratify the agreement. Many MPs have publicly stated that they will do so only if there is a sustainable peace that preserves the hard-fought gains of Afghan men and women over the last 20 years.

I am very concerned about the pending unconditional withdrawal of US and NATO troops m. I have voiced my strong concerns in Parliament and in the media. Since this withdrawal announcement was made the Taliban have started a new propaganda war, declaring victory against the US, NATO and Afghan Republic. Parliament is concerned the Taliban have given up on peace talks and focused their efforts on a military victory. Despite all the risk and strong concerns, Afghan people and the international community still have high hopes for the outcome of the peace talks and are eagerly waiting for an official announcement to end the war and establish a power-sharing government.