Monday, October 18, 2010

The difficult road to Afghan reconciliation

Master Sgt. Bill Gomez/USAF photo


By TARIN NAVID
Contributor

MULTAN, Pakistan - The Afghan government backed High Peace Council has asked  the Taliban to present reasonable conditions for peace talks. A council member has said that Hizeb-e-Islami, a second largest militant group led by the former prime minister of Afghanistan, has presented a 16-point resolution for the peace talks to President Hamid Karzai.

Peace Advisory Jirga with as many as 1,200 elders and influential members of  society was formed in early June  for the purpose of holding peace talks with the Taliban and other anti-government militant groups. The Taliban, the largest militant group with branches also here in Pakistan and led by Mullah Muhammad Omar, has rejected any peace talks until the foreign soldiers leave the country. 

Omar has also refused to hold any meetings with the Afghan government which he believes is West-backed.  Earlier, the Taliban had not rejected the idea of seeking a non-military solution to the war and had presented some conditions for the peace talks.

Former prime minister and a leader of Hizb-e-Islami,  Gulbadin Hekmatyar has asked the Afghan officials, NATO soldiers, neighboring countries and the U.S. to avoid creating obstacles which might hinder the peace process. The Obama administration has also ruled out talks with Omar. A statement issued by State Department spokesman P.J. Crowly says, “there is nothing we know that would suggest that Mullah Omar would qualify”.
In the meantime the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan are hoping and praying for an amicable solution to the insurgency and violence that has torn the two countries.

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