UN Optimism over Karzai’s Qatar Trip
As the US forces are preparing for complete withdrawal of combat forces by end of 2014, the efforts for securing a peace deal with the Taliban is getting momentum. According to the reports, President Hamid Karzai will soon head to Qatar, where he will discuss the opening of Taliban political office with Qatari government. Ahead of President Karzai’s important trip to Qatar, the United Nations expressed optimisms to the undisclosed visit, which would take place soon. UN Secretary General Special Representative to Afghanistan Jan Kubis said on Wednesday the United Nationsl is expecting concrete results from Hamid Karzai’s trip to Doha and his discussions with Qatari officials.
The remarks indicate that the United Nations is now more actively involved in the ongoing efforts for bringing the insurgent groups on negotiation table. It is a right move by the UN to enter the efforts for brokering peace between warring Afghan factions and persuade the Taliban to end bloodshed and transform into a political movement. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said it was hopeful about opening of Taliban office in the gulf nation, adding that the world body was ready to facilitate talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.
The direct support of the UN to the peace initiative and opening a political office for the Taliban in Qatar is signaling that the organization is ready to put its weight behind the peace talks with the Taliban. UN support for direct dialogue between Taliban representatives and the government of Afghanistan is obviously an asset for the efforts to end the long-lasting war in the country. The UN has the required legitimacy – before both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan – to spearhead the peace efforts and pursue both sides to compromise and make a peace deal.
Mediation role of the UN is acceptable by both the insurgent groups and the government and even the message of UN can be appealing for all parties involved in the conflict. Speaking at a press conference, Kubis told reporters in Kabul: “My message to the insurgency is basically a sort of long-term message: you are Afghans, you care, I assume, about your country, you care about a peaceful future of the country.” Perhaps the UN should have moved much earlier to actively mediate for peace negotiations and a ceasefire and other confidence-building measures.
The government of Afghanistan is stepping up efforts for opening the Taliban office in Qatar, as there are more signs of disagreements between Kabul and Islamabad over the peace plan in Afghanistan. Visibly, Pakistan and the government of Afghanistan do not seem to be on the same page over the terms and details of negotiations with the insurgent groups. This is alarming for a viable peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s likely spoiling role in any efforts for ending the war. No doubt, Afghanistan and Pakistan both needs peace in the region and any failure from Pakistani side to support peace could be disastrous for Afghanistan and Pakistan itself.