By: Muhammad Jalal
The greatest danger in the Afghan peace process comes from domestic spoilers.
It is generally agreed among scholars of diplomacy, that by implementing a peace agreement, peacemakers are vulnerable to attack from those who oppose their efforts. The opposing parties or individuals are termed as spoilers.
In the Afghan peace process there are domestic spoilers, who believe that peace emerging from current negotiations threatens their power and personal interests. Domestic spoilers of peace in Afghanistan are known to every Afghan. They are the individuals in the leadership of Kabul administration, surrounded by a circle of crooked advisors, who have been benefiting from the continuation of the war in Afghanistan. They are trying to sell the war and oppose the peace process by creating obstacles in the implementation of the Doha Agreement.
Since the signing of the Doha Agreement in February 2020, Kabul administration tried repeatedly to delay the process, by creating unnecessary excuses in the prisoner exchange process. At first, officials of Kabul regime claimed that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has no prisoners in its possession, but later revealed that their commandos and pilots should be released before the completion of the process. Shameful! The regime tried to sabotage the process at any cost. In August, the regime orchestrated a Loya Jirga to decide on the release of the remaining prisoners of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. After the Jirga decided to release the prisoners, once again spoilers in Kabul administration tried to delay the process. The regime constantly drew “red lines”, which it even had no control over. But only to delay and sabotage the peace process.
These domestic spoilers must not be allowed to succeed in their efforts, as failure of the current peace process will be catastrophic. If spoilers succeed, the casualties will be the lives and displacements of hundreds of thousands of Afghans. The responsibility of failure of implementing the Doha agreement and the current peace process would be with these spoilers, living in the palace-bubble of Kabul administration.
The the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, on the other hand, believes in and aims to achieve the higher interests of sacred religion of Islam and homeland, Afghanistan. These interests and objectives, as H.E. Mullah Baradar Akhund puts it, should not be sacrificed for personal interests. Afghans want peace. Peace has been the aspiration of every Afghan in the last 40 years. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has been always committed to bringing peace and prosperity to Afghanistan. As witnessed in the opening ceremony of the intra-Afghan talks, H.E. Mullah Baradar Akhund asked for patience and tolerance during discussions and to deal with all topics in good faith. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s commitment towards peace is clearly evident in the efforts of nearly two years of negotiations in Doha, and ultimately the Agreement of 29th February 2020 between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the United States. Since its signing, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has implemented and will continue to honor its commitments outlined in the Doha agreement. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seeks an Afghanistan that, as H.E. Mullah Baradar Akhund affirmed at opening ceremony of intra-Afghan negotiations, is “independent, sovereign, united, developed and free”.
There may be foreign spoilers of the Afghan peace process, who oppose the peace agreement only out of fear. H.E. Mullah Baradar Akhund reassured other countries stating that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants an Afghanistan that has “positive, respectful and good relations with all its neighboring, regional and world countries.” The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will not let Afghan soil be used against any other country in the world and will not let any country interfere in its domestic issues.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, while sincerely committed to the Doha Agreement, is constantly probing the intentions and tactics of spoilers in the Afghan peace process. The other side to the Doha agreement should also be cautious and observant about spoilers in order to proceed the peace process in a proper manner without delays and obstructions. Successful management of spoilers by all parties to the negotiation will result in successful peace process.