Building Peace and Connectivity through Research and Dialogue

HAS Hosts Consultations on Creating Framework for Intra-Afghan Peace Negotiations

During the winter of 2019-20, the Heart of Asia Society hosted a series of intensive, high level consultations and meetings with Afghanistan’s political and civil society leaders to develop a draft framework for intra-Afghan negotiations, the “Framework”.  Initiated by HAS, the series was subsequently convened as a purely civic exercise led by a working group of prominent Afghans which included Ms Fawzia Koofi, Mr Sayed Ishaq Gilani, Mr Mohammad Asif Rahimi, Dr Jafar Mahdavi, Dr Soraya Dalil and Eng Asem Asem.  Heart of Asia Society’s Jawed Ludin and Janan Mosazai also participated in the working group.  

In addition to meetings and intensive dialogues with top tier of Afghan political leadership, the series brought together a cross section of participants from the Afghan government, other state entities, the political community, civil society, including women, youth and media, and prominent Afghan personalities active in support of the peace process. A number of former Taliban members also participated in the discussion.

The Framework is a non-political, non-partisan and non-for-profit initiative of HAS aimed at securing a consensus across the political establishment of Afghanistan with a view to laying down necessary ground rules and structures for the intra-Afghan negotiations on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

At the first consultative meeting which was held on 4 December 2019 at the Inter-Continental Hotel of Kabul, the HAS team presented the draft Framework and highlighted the need for an agreed framework for the Islamic Republic side to serve as commonly agreed peace plan for the intra-Afghan talks. The absence of such a plan in the current environment was seen as a critical challenge that could hamper the much-anticipated peace talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s side with that of the Taliban in the aftermath of a US-Taliban peace agreement.

The ensuing debate focused substantively on the proposed framework as well as the question of whether, in the fractured, post-election political environment, it would be possible to build a broad agreement in the Afghan political community in support of peace talks with the Taliban.

At the advice of the consultative group, it was decided that a voluntary Working Group from among prominent Afghan personalities be formed to work with HAS on further development of the Framework and further expand the consultative process to include political parties and groups and civil society organisations which have a more direct influence in the peace process.  

It was at that first meeting where the working group, named above, was constituted and begun a series of intensive dialogues within the Afghan political community and civil society during months leading up to March 2020. The process was disrupted when, after announcement of the 2019 presidential elections, a political crisis ensued and lasted for several months.  

If you are interested to know about the Framework, or if you wish to join our newsletter, please write to the HAS team at publications@heartofasiasociety.org