Former Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed on Sunday offered to mediate between the Afghan government, Taliban and the Hezb-e-Islami. He made the offer in response to a letter sent to him by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
President Karzai sought help from Pakistani political and religious leaders against what he called “the evil of extremism and terrorism” after last month’s attack on child activist Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban.
Qazi Hussain said he had a good relationship with former Afghan jihadi leaders, including Karzai, during their decade-long resistance against Soviet forces, and because of this, he was willing to offer his help as a mediator.
“I still have strong contacts with people in the Afghan government and their armed opponents, including the Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami, and can play the role of a go-between,” Qazi Hussain told The Express Tribune.
As a first step, he has proposed convening a jirga to President Karzai with the participation of the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami to discuss the future set-up in Afghanistan and put in place a mechanism for a post-withdrawal scenario.
“The majority in Afghanistan is concerned about the (possibility of) a outbreak of civil war after the withdrawal of foreign forces by 2014,” Qazi Hussain said.
“If a jirga is convened, I will support it because it will reflect the unity of Afghans,” added Qazi Hussain, who is now leading a conglomerate of religious groups known as the Milli Yekjehti Council.
He asked Islamabad and Tehran to support the peace and reconciliation process for stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region.
Qazi Hussain also told President Karzai that “foreign intervention is the root cause of all the troubles … the region must be liberated from all types of outside intervention.”
He said US and Nato troops will leave Afghanistan when all the Afghan factions and people unanimously ask them to quit, after which the Afghans can decide their future on their own.
Recalling the factional fighting and bloodshed in Kabul after the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the former JI chief warned that Afghanistan might slip into another civil war post 2014 if Afghans failed to reach a deal on a future set-up.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2012.