Presidential Palace’s Plan B

The Presidential Palace has prepared two plans on the issue of war and peace in Afghanistan. Plan A of the Presidential Palace is the same multi-stage proposal that was outlined in the media last week and described by the President in a small meeting. The proposal has also been submitted to the High Council for National Reconciliation for presentation at the Istanbul Summit. The highlight of this proposal is “peace government” and “early elections”.

According to Ghani in describing Plan A of the Presidential Palace, a peace government will be formed with the participation of representatives of the Taliban in political power. He stressed that the basis of this partnership should be the constitution. Ghani, however, did not specify which articles of the constitution could be the basis for the Taliban’s participation in the government.

Ashraf Ghani has also said that after the peace agreement, he will prepare to hand over power to the newly elected president through elections. According to him, these elections should be held six to nine months after the establishment of the peace government. According to this plan, the United Nations should be responsible for holding and managing these elections.

Political agreement, a ceasefire, an international guarantee, and a Loya Jirga to ratify peace agreements are other highlights of Plan A.

The Presidential Palace, like others – except the Taliban, which has not yet made a clear statement on the Istanbul Summit – sees the summit as a historic opportunity for peace and the future of Afghanistan. Therefore, Ashraf Ghani, in describing his proposal, said that he intends to make the best use of this summit. He apparently insists that only one proposal be sent to the Istanbul Summit from the Republic’s side. In Ghani’s view, the multiplicity of proposals in this meeting could make it difficult to reach an agreement.

The Presidential Palace is working on its second proposal, which is in fact Plan B, while preparing to attend the Istanbul Summit. Ashraf Ghani has said that his current proposal is “plan A” of the government. If the “killing” continues and the Taliban miss the Istanbul Summit as a “golden opportunity”, the people must decide again. He emphasizes that in this case, one should not be “surprised” and the “Loya Jirga” should be called for a new decision.

The Presidential Palace did not elaborate on its plan to prepare Plan B. From the President’s remarks in describing Plan A, it is only clear that the Presidential Palace is preparing to deal with the situation after the possible failure of the Istanbul Summit. Therefore, to deal with a different outcome, he is busy preparing his “Plan B”. This plan, however, must be approved by the Loya Jirga.

The war may be Plan B’s solution to face the new situation should Plan A fail. Ghani has repeatedly said he will not hand over power to the new government without elections. Obviously, he has only two options to make this decision. Ashraf Ghani expects the early election plan to be accepted by the Taliban. If this expectation is not met, it is obvious that he will resort to the use of arms. Because in this case, other than returning to the war, there will be no other option available to achieve the above goal.

But the reality is that the Taliban are opposed to early elections. The group does not even believe in elections and constantly rejects it. The Taliban have also opposed a participatory peace government. In such a case, if Ashraf Ghani clings to his desired peace government and the offer of early elections and the Taliban do not agree to it, the Istanbul Summit will have no choice but to fail. This situation is definitely predictable for the Presidential Palace and that is why it has started working on its “Plan B”.

The Presidential Palace’s readiness to deal with the situation resulting from the possible failure of the Istanbul Summit is a sign of its fear of not getting along with the Taliban in the summit. At the same time, it should be noted that one of the most important tasks of the government is to take care of peace-building opportunities and to bring peace efforts to fruition. The Taliban should not think that it can achieve its goal by taking inflexible positions. The group must understand that flexibility in the Republic is limited to the interests of pro-republican people. If the Taliban are to show no flexibility, all peace efforts, including the Istanbul Summit, will fail. In this case, the republic will inadvertently enter another war to preserve the principle of republicanism.

It is expected that the efforts of all parties will focus only on reaching a favorable agreement at the Istanbul Summit. Impractical proposals that are disproportionate to the living conditions and special circumstances of Afghanistan can prevent all parties from reaching a favorable agreement. Because the war in Afghanistan has reached a stalemate, Plan B of the government and the Taliban should not emphasize this option as the only solution to the Afghan issue. In Plan B, both sides should focus on finding new ways that can lead to a just and lasting peace and political stability in Afghanistan.