US efforts to bring the Afghan warring parties under a united political setup have not led to a desirable outcome. Despite being engaged in direct talks for almost six months, the two sides have now seemingly entered a tunnel that twinkles a chance to achieve some form of a political settlement. The Afghan government is trying to press the Taliban to agree to a permanent ceasefire but the Taliban beat around the bush, boasting over its victory.
The war in Afghanistan is a bad legacy on the shoulders of the Biden administration. Among the most serious issues on the list of US foreign policy, the war in Afghanistan offers hard choices. The Biden administration now pursues a path to pressure the Afghan government and the Taliban to negotiate on a workable framework of a new political setup.
A draft of a peace agreement, which leaked to the press, suggests that the US is intending to push Afghanistan peace negotiations between the Islamic Republic and the Taliban.
It sets forth principles for future government in Afghanistan. The draft peace agreement envisions a transitional government that brings the two parties under a united political and security setup.
Islam will be the official religion of Afghanistan, and a high council of Islamic jurisprudence will be established to guide the future government. All rights including civil rights, freedom of speech, and the right to choose political leaders will be “honored” by the future constitution of Afghanistan. The future Afghan state will respect Islamic values, social justice, national unity, and the national sovereignty of Afghanistan.
A 21-member commission will be established to prepare a new constitution, with each party introducing 10 members of the commission and the head of state will appoint one member of it. The future constitution will “guarantee” to protect women’s rights and children’s rights.
The future constitution will pave the group for a free and fair election for all Afghan citizens to elect the political leader of their country. The constitution will define the structure of future government. The judiciary will serve as the only authorized body to resolve disputes raising over legal issues including disputes over the interpretation of Islamic law.
The 2004 Constitution will be the “initial template” to prepare the future constitution.
Afghanistan will remain committed to accountability and fighting against corruption.
Transitional peace government
Under the peace agreement, a transitional peace government will be established. The transitional peace government will be established after the two sides reach a political settlement. The transitional peace government will hold power no more than a period that shall be agreed by the parties. The national institutions including security agencies and education infrastructure are the property of every Afghan. The future government will protect public properties and other infrastructures like schools, hospitals, dams, and public institutions.
The future government will honor and support all war victims of the last 42 years of conflict. In accordance with the universal [declaration of human] rights, a national policy will be developed to pursue transitional justice based on truth-seeking, reconciliation, healing, and forgiveness.
Afghanistan will adopt “non-aligned foreign policy” and retains a friendly relation with all countries and the international community. The county will not allow any group to use Afghan soil against any neighboring country. The country demands other nations not to interfere in the internal affairs of the nation.
Free and fair election
The future constitution will pave the ground for a free and fair election for all Afghan citizens to elect Afghanistan’s national political leadership. The future constitution will define the structure of future government. The judiciary will serve as the only authorized body to resolve disputes raising over legal issues including disputes over the interpretation of Islamic law.
Afghanistan will remain committed to accountability and fighting against corruption.
Under the future constitution, a united independent government will be established—no parallel government or security agency will be made.
The transitional peace government will be made of three “separate and co-equal governing” branches: the Executive Administration, a National Shura, and a Judiciary with a Supreme Court and lower courts.
Appointments in the peace government will be in line with the agreement signed between the two sides and a meaningful presence of women and all ethnic groups in the government will be ensured.
The ruling constitution of Afghanistan will remain enacted until the future constitution is not endorsed.
With due respect to the international treaties and in a bid to promote national reconciliation, no one from either side of the conflict, including the forces, will be charged.
The transitional peace government will represent Afghanistan in the UN chamber and other international conferences.
Under the transitional peace government, the executive administration will run the daily business of the government, with the head of the government is authorized to issue decrees on peace, security, and good governance. The executive body is headed by a head of state, his deputies, cabinet ministers, and heads of independent agencies, or alternatively, it will be headed by the head of the state, prime minister, two deputy heads of state, two deputy prime ministers, cabinet ministers and heads of independent agencies.
The head of state will serve as commander-in-chief of armed forces too. Under the leadership of the head of the state, the security forces are tasked to protect the country.
The Taliban will be given a number of seats – which is not set yet – in each chamber of the National Shura. The future constitution will highlight the duty and authority of the houses of representatives. Or alternatively, the national houses of representatives will be suspended during the period of peace government and the executive body will be endorsed with the power to legislate law. All rights and privileges of the representatives will be retained during this period.
Under the Islamic government, the judiciary body is an independent organ. Each party will introduce members of the Supreme Court—the number of its members is not set.
The high council of Islamic jurisprudence
A 15-membered Islamic council of jurisprudence will be established, with each party introducing seven members and the head of state appoints a member of it.
The leadership council of the state
The leadership council of state will be comprised of the head of state, deputy heads of state, the heads of houses of representatives, chief justice, and chair of Islamic council along with a number of influential figures who will be introduced by the head of state.
Local structure of government
The head of state will appoint all governors, heads of the provincial directorates, district governors, and district directors.
The Taliban will be given seats in the provincial councils in some provinces or alternatively, the provincial councils will be suspended during the period of the peace government and their authorities shall be transferred to the respective provincial governors.
A new election commission will be established to organize a free and fair election after the endorsement of the new constitution. The result of any elections which are conducted on the basis of the current constitution will be not acceptable.
Each party will be accountable to end military operation within a period of time – that shall be decided by the parties – once the peace arrangement is signed between the parties. Under no condition, the parties can launch preemptive attacks against each other. In case of any preemptive attack, they are expected to put an immediate end to violence. Any sort of violence including mobilizing illegal forces by the executive body is not permitted. Establishing security posts, imposing a curfew on public movement, and planting mines will be considered as violation of the pact.
The Taliban will commit to close their offices and military facilities in the neighboring countries and bring them to Afghanistan.
The two sides will commit to the implementation of the ceasefire, reforms in the security sector including assimilation of the forces in the structure of the peace government.
A nine-membered commission of implementation and supervision of ceasefire will be established. Each party will introduce four members of it and the head of state will appoint a member of the commission.