HPC futile, needs reshuffle

Monday, 23 January 2017 15:30 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 179 times

There has been a lot of criticism of the High Peace Council (HPC) since its inception, largely because most of the individuals serving in the institution, from its chairperson to the members, have fought against the Taliban. Furthermore, there are a series of questions and concerns about its activities, as a result of which the council has not had any tangible achievements in regard to peace since its establishment. Even it is said that the HPC has not been able to establish direct, trustable contacts with the Taliban. The confession of Karim Khalili, the deputy HPC chair, saying that their contacts with the Taliban are still very weak, is an evidence of the failure.

 

 

All sides have now come to the conclusion that peace parleys are the only option to settle Afghan conflict, and there is a need for a reliable locus for the talks. Not only the Taliban but also the Afghan government has not trusted, as necessary, the existing makeup of the High Peace Council. Instead of HPC members, it is often other government officials who hold talks and meet with Taliban representatives, a testimony to the fact that the council still doesn’t enjoy the trust it should have gained to handle the peace process. 

 

The continuity of the work of the High Peace Council in its current form and structure cannot help the reconciliation process, because if none of the parties to the conflict has faith in it, how it can prove effective. Given its unproductive past, the HPC’s structure and policies need to be reevaluated. There needs to be a reliable mechanism for intra-Afghan peace dialogue, one that is also acceptable to regional and global powers besides the warring factions, which the existing peace council lacks. 

Leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG) should work on a mechanism to establish a trustable, mediating body for peace negotiations. If the government doesn’t view the dissolution of the High Peace Council as appropriate, it should overhaul it to make it operate more effectively. Now that the head of HPC has passed away and is yet to be replaced, it is the most appropriate time to either revamp the council or find another suitable alternative to it.