Hekmatyar’s removal from UN blacklist; likelihood of similar deal with Taliban

Sunday, 05 February 2017 04:38 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 215 times

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) removed the name of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan party, from its Sanctions List months after the militant group struck a peace agreement with Afghan government last year. Hekmatyar who was a powerful player during the civil war was on UNSC Sanctions List since 2003. 

 

Although peace talks with the Hekmatyar-led Hizb-e-Islami party, even if they come to fruition, will not have a significant impact on the war in Afghanistan, they were aimed at encouraging the Taliban as the main anti-government force to draw a conclusion that they can also reach their political goals through peaceful means and without the use of violence. Taking off Hekmatyar’s name from the blacklist is certainly a key, practical step towards peace, and carries even more significance from the perspective that if the Taliban initiate peace parleys with Afghan government, there is a possibility that their leaders will also be removed from the UNSC Sanctions List, which has also long been one of the main Taliban demands. 

Following the relatively fruitful peace talks between Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami, there is now a need and time for similar intra-Afghan dialogue with the Taliban. The Afghan government and its international backers who have failed to rout the Taliban militarily should pave the ground for the political settlement of the Afghan conflict as it has now proved almost impossible to be resolved through the use of force. It is right that the government’s overtures to hold direct peace talks with the Taliban have repeatedly failed so far, the failures should not be used as a justification to further prolong the war because a belated peace is also far better than an unending war. 

The support of foreigners, especially the United States, is the main reasons for the success of peace talks with Hizb-e-Islami. If the US and international community also back Afghan government’s reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, they will also most likely succeed. The involvement of regional powers in the peace dialogue with Taliban is necessary because some of them are currently accused of aiding the militant group; therefore, if they are not included in any peace overtures with the group, they can create problems for and derail the process. However, their engagement in peace talks should on no account be used to let them negotiate on behalf of the Taliban. 

The success in peace talks with Hekmatyar-led militant group should be considered as an opportunity and model for resumption of the stalled reconciliation process with the Taliban so as to find a logical solution to the ongoing conflict that no party, foreign or domestic, can win, and also allow Afghans to heave a sigh of relief after decades of suffering.