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The Evolving UN-Taliban Negotiations

Taliban’s Qatar Office

UN officials say they believe that the Taliban are willing to have dialogue on human rights issues. Neelab Mubarez, a spokesman of the UNAMA in Kabul said that the Taliban signaled positively on UN call to talk on human rights and preventing civilian casualties. The Taliban are accused of violating human rights and the principles of international laws. Previously, a UN report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan attributed more than 80 percent of the civilian deaths to the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

The high rate of civilian casualties is a grim aspect of the ongoing war and insurgency in the country. Almost every day the innocent civilians fall victim to the ongoing war. During past decade, thousands of innocent people have been killed or injured. The UN’s recent efforts for initiating talks with the Taliban are crucially important to help curb and hold accountable the irresponsible insurgent groups for their atrocities towards the civilian population. This is the first time that the UN formally announces its readiness for talks with the Taliban. Perhaps there have been secret negotiations between the UN and the Taliban on the humanitarian issues.

It seems that the UN is hopeful on some sorts of talks with the Taliban on human rights issues and protection of the civilians. Despite positive signals from the Taliban, as the UN has said, there is no place for optimism that any talks with the insurgent groups would work eventually, since they do not seem to be committed to protecting civilians. They have proved this in the past. But, any minimal agreement which could decrease the civilian deaths must be welcome.

As now there are expectations for UN-Taliban negotiations, the question rises about the nature of the would-be talks between the UN and the Taliban. Will that be merely talks on humanitarian issues and protection of civilians or it might indirectly be a government-backed plan to encourage the Taliban for peace talks? Though the scope of the intended talks is not clear, it is expected that it would also help the ongoing peace efforts by the government of Afghanistan and its international supporters.

Many believe that the UN must have been involved in peace efforts with the Taliban in past years, as it is the only credible international organization on which the Taliban have some level of trust and confidence. But the UN had abstained to get involved in political negotiations with the Taliban and the major players such as the US were also not willing to involve the United Nations in the negotiations with the Taliban. Whether on human rights issues or political talks, any sort of negotiations between the United Nations and the Taliban should be carried out transparently and guarantee the hard-gained human rights achievements.


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