New round of negotiations and the problem of Taliban’s representation

The government of Pakistan has promised that the peace negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban will soon revives and that Pakistan has already started its struggles regarding this issue.

The question is which group of the Taliban will talk to Afghan government? The media reports split between the Taliban and consider one group which is led by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour and the other by Mullah Mohammad Rassoul. Meanwhile, news on armed conflict between these two groups is also heard.

The Qatar Office and Urumqi and Murree Negotiations

Pakistan, in negotiations in China’s Urumqi and Islamabad’s Murree, had brought the individuals that were not influential in the rank of the Taliban; however, meanwhile, Pakistani army arrested a large number of wounded Taliban fighters resting in Quetta and Peshawar’s private hospitals and, through this, they pressurized the main wing of the Taliban in order to send a representative of their Qatar office to the negotiations.

Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, due to these pressures, became obligated to send Abdullatif Mansour, one of the Taliban’s central council’s members, to represent the Taliban in the Murree Meeting. Following this, the death news of Mullah Mohammad Omar was revealed and, as a result, Tayyib Agha resigned from the chairmanship of the Qatar Office. One of the reasons behind Tayyib Agha’s resignation was that why Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour became surrendered to the pressure of Pakistan and why he had sent a representative other than Qatar Office’s, which was against the principles that the Taliban was always insisting on, and caused the Qatar Office to lose its reputation.

In Urumqi and Murree’s negotiations, Pakistan could bring Mullah Mohammad Rasoul, Mullah Abdurrazaq, Mullah Jalil, Mullah Hassan Rahmani and Haji Ibrahim, brother of Mawlawi Jalaluddin Haqqani and others to these negotiations; in the case, no one of them had influence in the rank of the Taliban. Haji Ibrahim was busy with business in past fourteen years and had no link with Sirajuddin Haqqani’s network; however, Pakistan has introduced Haji Ibrahim as the representative of the “Haqqani Network”. The senior officials of Inter-service Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan were present in this meeting.

Therefore, some analysts think that Mullah Mohammad Rassoul, by accepting Pakistan’s invitation and participating in these two negotiations, received his present and due to this, he became permitted to lead a splitter group of the Taliban that were separated from the main group of the Taliban led by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

The Qatar Office and the TAPI Project

Pakistanis, during the past several years, have tried to discredit and close the Qatar Office; however, they were not so successful in their job. Taliban were able to establish ties with different countries in the world through this office, and to participate in several conferences and meetings and to clarify their position to the world through this mean. One of the countries that the Taliban had friendly ties with was Turkmenistan. This relation vanished and cut after America’s rush on Afghanistan; however, these ties renewed after the establishment of the Taliban office in Qatar (the Qatar Office).

Turkmenistan is rich with galore resources of gas and it wants to export its gas to South Asia. These struggles started after Turkmenistan received its freedom from former Soviet Union and followed by rivalry between American Unocal Company and Argentinian Corporation in order to receive the contract of this project.

The route of Afghanistan could realize this dream, but civil war and the fighting between Mujahedeen and the Taliban were obstacles in front of achieving this goal. Taliban’s control over the large part of the country especially over those areas through which the pipeline was passing, it was considered as a step toward starting this project which would then transfer gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan; this project is named (TAPI). But after a while, America, with focusing on issues like terrorism, women rights and human rights, opposed the Taliban and, with putting economic sanctions, prevented every kind of investment of foreign companies in the country. As a result, Unocal and Bridas companies stopped struggles for achieving the contract of project “TAPI” in order not to be accused with cooperating with terrorism and human rights’ abusers.

The length of this pipeline is about 1735 km whose 735 km is passing through Afghanistan, but America’s rush on Afghanistan and continuation of war in the country, especially in the areas through which the pipeline was passing had prevented Turkmenistan from achieving this goal. Considering that 120 thousands NATO-led foreign troops could pave the ground for the beginning of this project.

The question remains that the security situation in Afghanistan is worse than ever in the past fourteen years and almost the entire route of the pipeline, directly or indirectly, is in the hand of the Taliban, so how can implanting this multi-billion dollar project would be possible without receiving assurance from the Taliban?

Meanwhile, Shir Mohammad Abbas, the head of the Taliban political office in Qatar was present alongside the head of the related governments (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) during the inauguration of the TAPI Project, and, also, he negotiated about security of this project with Turkmen officials. The work of this project has begun with the assurance of the Taliban led by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour.

The Role of Taliban political office in the new round of talks

Taliban, after transferring their political office to Qatar, has always emphasized that the only address to peace negotiations is Taliban’s Political Office in Qatar. This initiative that was taken by Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour caused the mean to fake negotiations with the Afghan government and unknown people that were considering themselves as the representatives of the Taliban.

However, the Taliban’s Political office was faced with oppositions that were: the Afghan government and Pakistan. After the members of Taliban visited Qatar, Pakistanis gave an ultimatum to the Afghan Taliban and said that they will oppose every meeting that does not have representative from Pakistani government. This issue caused Americans, who had established Taliban Political Office and considered it as the only address to peace negotiations, but due to Pakistan, it changed its this stance.

Now, as Pakistan, once again, announced its readiness to bring the Taliban to the new round of the peace talks, it is yet to be cleared that whom will participate in the second round of peace talks. Sources near to the Qatar Office says that not orders, based on preparing for peace negotiations, have been given to this office.

Ability to know the right Taliban!

It is planned that the peace negotiations between the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Taliban will start due to Pakistan’s intercession in the near future. The Afghan government is required not to re-engage in incomplete and fake negotiations. Peace must be negotiated in the direction that would have the support of the most of Taliban fighters in the battle ground, because, the national interests of Afghanistan would be secured only in that kind of negotiations.

If the government of Afghanistan really wants effective and useful negotiations, it is supposed to request the Pakistani side to provide it, before the beginning of the negotiations, with the identity of those who wish to take part in negotiations on behalf of the Taliban. It is very important that the competence and dependence of the representatives of the Taliban with their relevant sides should be considered that whether they are related to the side that assures security for the TAPI project; however, this job is not that much easy.

Mullah Mohammad Rassoul consider his opposition with Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as it is originated from Mansour’s dependency to Pakistan and Tayyib Agha also consider the flexibility of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour toward Pakistan in the Murree negotiations as one of the reasons behind his resignation. Therefore, participation in the Pakistani-led negotiations approves Akhtar Mansoor’s dependency on Pakistan. Definitely, this issue can prevent Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour’s representatives from participating in these negotiations. Hence, perhaps, Pakistan would bring people like Mullah Hassan Rahmani, Mullah Aburrazaq and Mullah Abdul Jalil that are not depended on any side. However, these negotiations wouldn’t benefit Afghanistan.

The representatives of the Afghan government, as same as in the past, until entering the room, do not know who will they face that are so-called the representatives of the Taliban and to what extent they have competency to represent the Taliban.


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