Afghanistan takes step towards peace talks
Afghan peace activists celebrate the announcement of a truce between the Taliban, the government and the United States on February 21, 2020. JAVED TANVEER / AFP
Text by: RFI Follow
The Taliban and the Afghan and international forces present in Afghanistan observe a period of calm of seven days since this Saturday February 22 at midnight. If the reduction in violence is conclusive, the United States and the Taliban hope to sign an agreement on February 29, which would be a step forward for peace talks.
From our regional correspondent, Sonia Ghezali
No attack has been reported in the capital or in the provinces, but it must be said that the agreement between the Americans and the Taliban relates to a reduction in violence. It is not a cease-fire. What is probably expected is therefore a reduction in the fighting in cities and major highways on the part of the Taliban as well as on the part of the Americans and the Afghan authorities. They also announced on Friday that they had given orders to that effect to the country's armed forces.
The population full of hope
The Afghan people are the first to rejoice. Just look on social networks where there are many messages from hopeful internet users. Some posted videos of dancing men last night commenting, " No American air raids tonight ."
Others dream of traveling through their country and going to discover remote regions of Afghanistan like Nuristan, a province renowned for the incredible beauty of its landscapes but inaccessible because to access it, you have to cross areas controlled by the Taliban. .
It remains to be seen now what this reduction in violence will be in concrete terms since the exact terms of what was concluded between the Americans and the Taliban on this subject have not been revealed and we do not know, moreover, whether they have really been defined. .
A truce with test value
This sort of truce in any case has the value of a test. The Taliban are watching if the Americans and the Afghan government will respect it while the Americans are waiting to see if the Taliban are playing the game,
The Americans and the Taliban have already announced the signing of an agreement on February 29 . It will be the next and last step in a long process that was started by the Americans several months ago. What is at stake and which has been under negotiation in Doha for more than a year is the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan because the insurgents refuse to enter into peace talks as long as there are troops foreigners in Afghanistan.
For its part, the United States demands certain guarantees, such as the reduction of violence, the guarantee that the Afghan territory will not be used by terrorist groups against other countries. Another requirement is on the table: intra-Afghan negotiations.
Taliban refuse to recognize Afghan government
This point is very sensitive. The Taliban refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the Kabul government. For them Ashraf Ghani, the president, is only a puppet in the hands of the Americans. No question for them to negotiate with him or his government. However, one of the leaders of the religious movement said they were ready to talk to Afghan political parties.
This step raised many concerns since the Afghan political class is extremely divided and disunited. Latest illustration: two days ago, the chief of the executive Abdullah Adbullah, unsuccessful presidential candidate of last September, announced that he rejected the results of the election and that he would form his own government despite the official victory of the outgoing president and candidate Ashraf Ghani.
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