February 02, 2023

Ceasefire and detainees…!!

Ceasefire and detainees…!!

According to commitments made in the Doha agreement when intra-Afghan negotiations are launched, all remaining detainees shall be freed within a three-month timeframe, meaning that five thousand prisoners shall be freed prior to talks and the rest when the negotiation process begins.

Delays experienced over procedural rules for the negotiations due to vacillation by Arg is quite an unfortunate event. But since positive headway has been observed on procedural rules and multiple joint-sessions have also been held, then this displays another forward step taken by the Islamic Emirate. Thus, it becomes imperative that the next step be taken by America and the other side by starting the release process of the remaining detainees so that the overall peace process gains further momentum.

Just as the American chargé d’affaires reiterated during an online press conference that all commitments in the Doha agreement are interrelated and must be implemented sequentially, the Islamic Emirate has maintained this position from the very outset – since all commitments are interrelated with one another, they must also be implemented one after the other.

But at the same time and in parallel to this, officials of the Kabul administration and other circles associated with them are conditioning the release of remaining detainees with a general ceasefire, even though prisoner release is a standalone clause in the Doha agreement and the ceasefire is not, albeit a reduction in violence is. This is something that the Islamic Emirate has enforced to a large extent and the violence has dropped compared to years past, although the opposition continues to exaggerate the extent of violence, allegations that are both unfounded and unsubstantiated.

This means that a ceasefire can be part of the agenda in the intra-Afghan talks, and not that commitments made in the Doha agreement are used as tools to exert pressure during intra-Afghan dialogue, maneuvers that openly breach the Doha agreement.

Rather it seems that the Kabul administration is once again set on creating obstacles for the peace process by systematically trying to tie ceasefire (an item on the agenda during intra-Afghan negotiations) with the prisoner release (an altogether separate clause of the Doha agreement).

Today, the Kabul administration security council spokesperson said that prisoner release does not benefit negotiations, and prior to this the spokesperson for Arg also declared that Taliban calls for the release of seven thousand prisoners were premature.

This comes after a delegation of the Islamic Emirate held serious talks about prisoner release and termination of blacklists with Zalmay Khalilzad and the US delegation on the 5th of December. Remarks by Ross Wilson in Kabul are a testament of those discussions.

It is imperative that all sides earnestly and urgently implement all articles of the Doha agreement for the success of the ongoing peace process and not deliberate on how best to create hurdles, actions that in reality work to set up the process for failure.

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