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The cost of peace: on intra-Afghan talks{PDF}

SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

Afghanistan should not lose the democratic gains made in the post-Taliban era

Six months after they were first DUE TO be held, intra-Afghan talks bringing the Taliban face-to-face with REPRESENTATIVES of the Ashraf Ghani government and Afghan civil society finally got UNDERWAY in Doha on Saturday. The talks, which were a key OUTCOME of the U.S.-Taliban and U.S.-Afghanistan agreements signed in February this year, have been delayed for many reasons. To begin with, the Taliban set pre-conditions including the release of all its prisoners, while not accepting the basic requirement of a CEASEFIRE. There were also delays over the composition of the Afghan negotiating team led by chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai, and differences over appointments between the former RIVALS, President Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who was appointed as the head of the High Council for National RECONCILIATION. There were even concerns over whether the all-male Taliban team would deal with the negotiating team, which includes four women. However, the biggest OBSTACLE was the release of more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners and about 1,000 Afghan soldiers and others held by Taliban militia, as STIPULATED in the agreements with the U.S. Last month, President Ghani said that he would release all but about 400 who were wanted for “serious crimes”, which led to the Taliban THREATENING to CALL OFF talks, but resolved after a Loya Jirga of representatives approved the release. One final batch of prisoner releases was HELD UP briefly over objections from France and Australia, whose soldiers had been killed by them. The SILVER LINING for India, which otherwise views the reconciliation process with some FOREBODING, is that the release of all Taliban prisoners has also meant the safe return of three Indian hostages, held since 2018 by the Taliban.

The hard part begins now. While preliminary rounds held since Saturday have DEALT with the structure and LOGISTICS, the first task for the negotiators is to declare a permanent ceasefire, and stop violence in Afghanistan that has claimed another 1,300 civilian lives in the first half of 2020. More difficult challenges will EMERGE as they GRAPPLE with the Taliban on how to shape Afghanistan’s future, and whether they can retain the constitution and political processes while bringing the INSURGENTS into the mainstream. With the Ghani government giving the green signal for the talks in Doha, India has modified its stand, and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar attended the INAUGURAL ceremony in Doha via videoconferencing; it was the first ever address by an Indian official at a gathering that includes the Taliban (that India still maintains is a terror group). While STATING that peace in Afghanistan as a result of an “Afghan-led, Afghan owned” process is a desirable outcome, he made it clear that India hopes it will not come at the cost of gains made by Afghanistan in the post-Taliban era, including democracy, institutions of governance, and the rights of minorities and women.

MEANINGS OF WORDS/PHRASES IN BOLD

1. DUE TO(v)-because of; owing to.he had to withdraw due to a knee injury"

2. REPRESENTATIVES(n)-a person who has been chosen to act or speak for somebody else or for a groupव्‍यक्ति या वर्ग का प्रतिनिधि

3. UNDERWAY(v)-having started and making progressआरंभ होकर आगे बढ़ना या प्रगति करना

4. OUTCOME(n)-the result or effect of an action or an eventकिसी क्रिया या घटना का परिणाम या प्रभाव

5. CEASEFIRE(n)-an agreement between two groups to stop fighting each otherदो समूहों के बीच एक दूसरे से लड़ाई न करने का समझौता; युद्घ-विराम, लड़ाई-बंदी

6. RIVALS(n)-a person or thing that is competing with youप्रतिद्वंद्वी व्‍यक्ति या वस्‍तु

7. RECONCILIATION(n)-process that compares two sets of records to check that figures are correct and in agreement.

8. OBSTACLE(n)-something that makes it difficult for you to do something or go somewhereबाधा, अड़चन, अवरोध

9. STIPULATED(v)-to say exactly and officially what must be done(किसी बात को) आवश्‍यक शर्त के रूप में प्रस्‍तुत करना; अनुबंध करना

10. THREATENING(v)-to say that you will harm someone or do something unpleasant or unwanted especially in order to make someone do what you want

11. CALL OFF(v. Adv)-to cancel or abandon:

12. HELD UP(v)-to cause a delay for someone or something, or to make them late

13. SILVER LINING (p)- a sign of hope or a positive aspect in an otherwise negative situation

14. FOREBODING(n)-a strong feeling that danger or trouble is comingAनिष्‍ट का प्रबल पूर्वाभास

15. HOSTAGES(n)-a person who is caught and kept prisoner. A hostage may be killed or injured if the person who is holding him/her does not get what he/she is asking forपकड़ा जाकर बंदी बनाया गया व्‍यक्ति; बंधक (माँग पूरी न होने पर बंधक की हत्‍या तक की जा सकती है)

16. DEALT(v)-to do business, especially buying and selling goods(किसी चीज़ का) व्‍यापार करना

17. LOGISTICS(n)-the business of transporting, supplying and delivering goodsपरिवहन एवं आपूर्ति का व्यवसाय

18. EMERGE(v)-to appear or come out from somewhereकहीं से प्रकट होना या निकलना

19. GRAPPLE(v)-to get hold of somebody/something and fight with or try to control him/her/itव्‍यक्ति या वस्‍तु को पकड़कर उससे लड़ना या उसे क़ाबू में करने की कोशिश करना

20. INSURGENT(n)-a person fighting against the government or armed forces of their own countryअपने ही देश की सेना अथवा सरकार के विरुद्ध लड़ रहा व्यक्ति, विद्रोही, बाग़ी

21. INAUGURAL(n)-an address, as of a president, at the beginning of a term of office

22. STATING(v)-to say or write something, especially formallyकुछ कहना या लिखना (विशेषतः औपचारिक रूप से

15 SEPTEMBER EDITORIAL ANALYSIS BY LAKS
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