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Old plan for New game
Mr. Ghani so-called Steps Toward Stability in Afghanistan which recently have been circulated by media outlets, looks like an article published as an op-ed rather than a comprehensive peace and reconciliation roadmap.
It is worth mentioning that, the date and the way the plan was shared is worth to be analyzed. Because, after almost two months of breaking and uncertainty about the faith of peace negotiation, while Ambassador Khalilzad just had started his new phase of peace mission and relevant brainstorming meeting both with national and international players, the plan was released as an attempt to overshadow the mission and sabotage the whole process.
CMRM as a National Research Center, herewith, share its narration and reactions with all national and international stakeholders and warns about the devastative consequences of such drafts and fragmentation in policies and behaviors of our partners.
A glance over the plan
The 7-point plan for stability of Mr. Ghani, has 3 phases and 7 plans. The 1stphase that is named, Top-Down Negotiations, contain 3 plans: 1- Negotiation with USA+NATO, 2- Negotiations with the Taliban and 3- Negotiations with Pakistan,
The 2ndwhich is titled Consensus building with Regional and International Partners, including 2 plans, plan 4- Discussions with Neighbors, Region, and the Islamic World, place 5- Discussions with the West+ International Organizations and the 3rdphase which is Bottom-Up stability (Governance), contains little interesting points: plan 6- Strengthen Institutions at the National Level, plan 7- Address Grievances at the local level.
Mr. Ghani, at the end of his plan, in order to garner national and international support to his plan, has allocated a section named Immediate Concrete Steps that later has divided into 3 short-term steps: 1- Organise a Mini-Jirga, 2- Form an Alliance Consultations Group and 3- Holds Intra-Afghan Dialogues.
The highlighted 1,2,3, 4 and the 5thplans are either very outdated as already have been said somehow by former President- Karzai or currently in practice by US Special Representative for Peace and Reconciliation Ambassador Khalilzad even with some challenges and shortages.
In regards to plans 6 and 7, CMRM believes that these two belong to the Stability Period of a post-conflict development not the Peace-Making process. Restoring stability in a war-devastated country like Afghanistan, based on valuable studies of international schoolers and experiences of different global peace negotiations, needs decades not few years. So, these points are also vain and useless as cannot meet the expectations and are not game changer.
Nevertheless, in point 7, that aim to address grievances at the local level, suggestion like “promoting rule of law, strengthening traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, rural development programs, and mechanisms to include people in local politics” are among those conflicting points that so far have not been delivered and consequently, cannot be respected by the incumbents.
CMRM Narration and Reaction
The plan, contrary to what has claimed that would sustain process and paving ground for a peaceful and political settlement of issues, widely and directly undermining the whole System and putting new obstacles ahead of a process which is being challenged by many internal and external state and non-state spoilers.
In fact, we do not know which Taliban have been addressed by the papers? Those Taliban, who frequently have denied to having strategic peace negotiations with NUG as the group called it as illegitimate and powerless? or a group that from Ghani’s understanding is in the verge of total collapse? If the Taliban are being collapsed or are part of terrorist networks, then how they dare to talk and why Ghani cares to share power with them? Contrary what he claims, in practice, the plan is for a group who apparently enjoy international supports and is the main peace and war shareholders. No doubts, it is a plan for safeguarding someone seat and power not people from disasters.
Meanwhile, the plan is neither a clear commitment for peace nor a national strategy for peaceful settlement of disputes, but it is a pretext for making the peace process prolonged enough until become exhaustive for involved parties and is an attempt for another wave of violence that can clearly be derived from National Security Advisor’s tones of speech.
What Mr. Mohib told in a press conference was the brainchild of a distracted and disappointed team, those believe that have been ignored by people and sidelined by parties from future development. A North Korean leader’s style of totalitarian governance doesn’t work anymore, instead they need to align themselves to public wills and be in touch with ground realities.
1- Having a glance over the policies and methods of governance of National Unity Government NUG leadership, CMRM is confident that the raised ideals and most important points are out of competence of this administration that is constituted and shaped based on political patronage, chronic corruption, distrust, inequality, discrimination and granting judicial immunity for its beloved individuals and relevant organizations.
2- In such a critical and fragile situation of the country, running politics of emotion is a counterproductive attempt that would absolutely undermine the whole system, process and institutes. The International partners of Afghanistan should not let it goes beyond the reach.
3- Ghani has failed to create a national-wide umbrella of consensus of local plyers for challenging the Taliban growing influence and to have the ownership and leadership of peace and war. Instead, he has tried to monopoly the process insomuch that government and the governance to be translated as Ghani and his kitchen cabinet.
4- When many Jirgas (the grand gathering) including the recent Consultative Peace Jirga and the Kabul process didn’t yield the result, how such a limited mechanism in a chaotic situation at the result of fraudulent election with low turnout can properly address the peace process?
5- The plan is mostly designed to blackmail the US and its partner and then use it as bargaining chip to take the initiatives and score more concession in favor of ruling circles.
6- The plan intent to ignore or at best scenario to slow-down the already concluded peace process in order to force the US to make some amendment based on Ghani interests. Therefore, the plan might not get the full support of political parties and civil society elites because it is derived from personal interests not at the result of consultation with relevant internal and external parties.
7- The only positive point of the plan is emphasizing over ceasefire to bring down the ongoing violence that could endanger the two decades achievements.
8- CMRM, while has its concerns and suggestions about the contents of the USA and Taliban peace process, but is also determined to counteract any attempts by spoilers that would try to take hostage the whole nation’s wills in return of personal or political advantages.
In summary, CMRM dare says that the papers distributed by Mr. Ghani as a peace plan, may only have internal political consumption but would not be assumed as a complementary and supporting document. By this late initiative, Mr. Ghani, at the end of his term, wants not to be blamed for lack of a peace plan or as a peace spoiler.
Mr. Ghani papers are better to be archived as a futile attempt by a failed president. The nation and the history might remember it that how a fixed state was failed by the author of Fixing Failed states’ book!:)