The background – Talking About Talks & the remaining inconvenient questions
On February 6, a meeting of the ‘Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) on Afghan Peace and Reconciliation Process’ took place in Islamabad. The QCG is a partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States (US) that seeks to promote a conducive environment for the commencement of Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace talks aimed at reducing violence and establishing lasting peace in Afghanistan and in the region as a whole. This latest meeting was third in the row of the QCG group this year.
At the end of July 2015, in the aftermath of the second round of the ‘official’ peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the Taliban finally verified the death of its creator, commander and spiritual leader Mullah Muhammad Omar (DW, 30.7.2015). Omar was also the ‘Head of the Supreme Council’ of the Taliban during their rule in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 (Waraich, 31.7.2015). Before he died he appeared to give his authorisation for the first round of peace talks earlier this month. However, as his successor, Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor, got appointed after a shura held outside Quetta (Pakistan) the Taliban unanimously elected him as the “new emir of the Taliban” (DW, 30.7.2015). Generally he got portrayed as a pragmatic and protagonist of negotiations for a political settlement to end the ongoing armed insurgency of the Taliban and affiliated groups to topple the western-backed government in Kabul (cf. Siddique, 21.4.2014; Withnall, 30.7.2015). This created – temporarily – new hopes for peace in the war-ridden country. Continue reading “Quo vadis Taliban – What happens next after the ‘official death’ of its supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar?”
On July 8th, the first official acknowledged ‘peace talk’ between the Afghan Taliban and the government in Kabul took place (Johnson/Zahra-Malik, 8.7.2015). Facilitated by Pakistan who are being supported by China, delegations of the two conflicting parties met in Murree, a hill resort near Islamabad (cf. Harooni, 8.7.2015). Besides Chinese officials, U.S. representatives were also present during the event (Ahmed, 28.7.2015). The peace talk is being praised by Pakistani authorities as a potential move towards the ending of 14 years insurgency -after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001-, the major outcome of the gathering was to meet again by end of July after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Aljazeera, 8.7.2015). Continue reading “Negotiating the Non-negotiable: Taliban, Peace and Democracy – Afghanistan’s impossible triangle”