Taliban To Meet Afghan Politicians (but Not Ghani) In Moscow
Recent remarks by the Taliban’s chief negotiator, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, have contributed to such concerns. In a videotaped interview that has circulated in Afghanistan, Mr. Stanekzai said the Taliban did not recognize the government and expected the Afghan Army to be disbanded after a peace deal, stirring memories in Kabul of the anarchy that followed the Soviet Union’s withdrawal.
“This force, this army — this was made by the Americans,” Mr. Stanekzai said. “When the Americans leave, they will naturally finish.”
Mr. Stanekzai’s remarks may have amounted to a negotiating stance, and he said the Taliban did not seek a political “monopoly” in Afghanistan. But to some, his rhetoric — “We will involve the nation, we will give the nation shares,” he said at one point — suggested that the insurgents saw themselves as the dominant force in a future government.
The opposition leaders, for their part, say Mr. Ghani, has alienated much of the country’s political elite, including some of those who helped bring him to power. They say that he could squander a rare opening for peace, and that his resistance stems from a fear that if talks progress, he could lose his chance for five more years of power.
Fariba Ahmadi Kakar, a member of the Afghan Parliament from Kandahar Province in the south, said that while any dialogue on ending the war was welcome, the government’s absence from the talks in Doha, and now in Moscow, would complicate the situation.
“The absence of the government in all these important talks hurts us — even if this government has made mistakes, this is our government, this is our leadership,” Ms. Kakar said. “The absence of the government in meetings where the conversation is about the future of Afghanistan could lead to the Taliban taking advantage at the cost of the system here.”
But Ms. Kakar said she was equally concerned about the divisions among the Afghan political elite.
“I hope we don’t reach a day where the Taliban are ready for peace, but our leaders on this side can’t make peace with each other,” she said.