Trump ‘certainly’ after using Afghan peace for re-election

TEHRAN, Sep. 13 (MNA) – A former Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan believes that US President Donald Trump is trying to use the Afghan peace negotiations in Doha as a card in the November election.

The first round of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban kicked off on Saturday in Doha, Qatar. There are mixed reactions to the negotiations as some hope that the talks could end decades of war and insecurity and some others believe the peace in Afghanistan cannot be established soon and easily.

To shed more light on the issue, Mehr News Agency reached out to former Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan Abolfazl Zohrevand.

Here is the text of the interview:

What has forced Afghan sides to come back to the negotiating table?

Afghan sides have their own issues. For example, the Taliban does not have a coherent structure so it is not clear who is leading the group behind the scenes and what branches it has. As far as the Afghan government is concerned, Mr. Ashraf Ghani and Mr. Abdullah have different points of view and High Council for National Reconciliation has not been active. There is no consensus on the agenda of negotiations.

Meanwhile, Americans are decreasing their assistance and presence because they have had no achievement and on the other hand, they have turned these measures into a tool to put pressure on the government to come to the negotiating table. Both the people and the government officials are confused.

Any peace process goes through a path based on national capacities and clear definitions of concepts such as national security and common ideals and none of these exist in this case. In this volatile situation, they say ‘hope springs eternal’.

How do you predict the results of the peace meetings?

Due to different reasons, these negotiations will not have any result.

Firstly, the two sides have no commonalities in different areas, including in governing, foreign policy, viewpoint towards people, and the future of Afghanistan. The Afghan government seeks to maintain the constitution and the structure which are the results of international efforts in the past 20 years while the Taliban is after crossing this structure and establishing an Islamic emirate which they had once experienced some 20 years ago.

Secondly, the Taliban on the one hand does not consider the current government as legitimate and on the other hand, the agenda of the talks is vague. The Afghan government seeks to reach a ceasefire and offer the Taliban a share in the governing body but the Taliban has come to reach its overt and covert goals.

What are the reasons for choosing Qatar as the host of these meetings?

Arab states have always had a bias in the issue of Afghanistan. Taliban office in Doha can be considered as their first office in the region. UAE and Saudi Arabia have some problems as they work with some of the extremist branches of the Taliban or with ISIL.

Qatar has more credibility compared to other Persian Gulf states and even Pakistan and the Taliban can also display a more moderate image in Doha, although Taliban and ISIL are two sides of the same coin

Experts believe that Donald Trump is trying to use the Afghan peace process as a card in November elections. What is your take on this?

Certainly. The foreign policy of the Trump administration does not receive a passing mark. He did not have any achievement regarding the JCPOA, North Korea, ties with the European Union, relations with China, and the so-called Deal of the Century among others.

Parallel with all these failed efforts, Trump has sought to pull out forces from countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan and also to operationalize Doha peace deal so that he can later say “I have both withdraw American forces and achieved sustainable peace in Afghanistan.”

So after six months of hiatus, these peace meetings kicked off on Saturday and we should wait for the results.

Interview by Mohammad Ali Haqshenas

News Code 163448

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