Exclusive: Details of Proposed Draft for Afghan Peace

TOLOnews has seen a proposed draft plan for Afghan peace that was recently shared with political leaders and outlines a roadmap toward an end to the violence and a structure for a future government.

The guiding principles for Afghanistan’s future, the structure of a transitional government, and a political roadmap for a lasting ceasefire are the three significant elements of the draft.

The draft states that when the term of a proposed transitional government ends, the future leader of Afghanistan will be elected through a popular vote.

The second part of the draft states that Islam is the official religion of the country, all Afghan citizens will be provided security, and Afghanistan is the common home for all ethnic and religious groups.

In addition, the draft proposes a new constitution and says it will protect the rights of women and children.

The transitional peace government, according to the draft, will have three separate branches:

The executive administration, which will be headed by the head of state, with cabinet ministers as well as independent directorates from other areas.

The national parliament, which includes the parliament and the senate. Based on this draft, the Taliban representatives will be included in the national assembly, but the exact number of members is not clear.

The judiciary, which also includes the independent high council for Islamic jurisprudence and the commission for drafting a new constitution.

According to the draft, the high council of Islamic jurisprudence will have fifteen members, seven of whom will be Taliban members, the other seats will be filled by the government of the Islamic Republic, with one member appointed by the head of the government. The council is tasked with providing Islamic guidance in the social, cultural, and other contemporary sectors of the country.

According to the draft, a transitional “Peace Government of Afghanistan” shall be established as of the date of the agreement.

The draft says that the “Peace Government shall exist until it transfers power to a permanent Government following the adoption of a new constitution and national elections. This transfer of power shall occur no later than [xx] months from the date of this Agreement.”

The draft suggests that all appointments to the Peace Government shall be made “according to the principle of equity between the two Parties to this Agreement, with special consideration for the meaningful inclusion of women and members of all ethnic groups throughout government institutions.” 

It says that the “following legal framework shall be applicable throughout Afghanistan until the adoption of new Constitution: (1) Afghanistans current Constitution, to the extent its provisions are not inconsistent with this Agreement; and (2) Afghanistans existing laws, decrees and regulations – provided that the Peace Government shall have the power to amend or repeal such laws, decrees and regulations – or any new laws, decrees and regulations adopted by the Peace Government, to the extent they are not inconsistent with (a) this Agreement, (b) Afghanistan’s international legal obligations or (c) applicable Constitutional provisions.” 

The draft mentions that “subject to Afghanistan’s international legal obligations, members of the Parties, including their forces, will not be prosecuted for treason or other political crimes, as defined by the two Parties, during the tenure of the Peace Government in order to promote national reconciliation.”  

Also, “the Peace Government shall represent Afghanistan in its external relations, including at the United Nations and other international institutions and conferences,” the draft says.

To draft a new constitution, the document suggests that a “[21]-member Commission for the Preparation of a New Constitution will be established within 30 days of this Agreement taking effect, with [10] members named by each Party to this Agreement and the President naming the [21st] member.”

“Members of the Constitutional Commission will include both Islamic and contemporary legal experts. This Commission will prepare a draft Constitution after widespread consultation and present a final draft to a national Loya Jirga for final debate and ratification,” according to the draft.

When it comes to the government’s composition, the draft has two options:

“Option (1): The Executive Administration shall consist of a president, vice presidents, cabinet ministries, independent directorates, and other bodies.” 

And “Option (2): The Executive Administration shall consist of a president, a prime minister, vice presidents, deputy prime ministers, cabinet ministries, heads of independent directorates, and other bodies.”

The draft states: “this document sets forth a roadmap pursuant to Option (1) – which is a president and his deputies. If the parties choose Option (2), this document will need modifications to set forth the respective authorities of the president and prime minister.”

“When sharing the draft, Americans passed on the message to everyone that it was not from the US government but it is something to expedite the peace process,” National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib said when asked about the draft.

This comes as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani seen by TOLOnews put forth suggestions to the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process, including convening a UN-facilitated conference with international stakeholders, proposals to facilitate discussion between the two sides to form a negotiated settlement and ceasefire, a meeting in Turkey between both sides to finalize a peace agreement, and a revised proposal for a 90-day reduction in violence. However, along with these proposals, Blinken made clear that the United States is considering all options regarding Afghanistan, including the May 1st deadline for full withdrawal.

This letter is reportedly similar to one shared with the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah.

Transfer of Power Through Polls

On Saturday, amid reports that Afghan politicians had been shown a draft on a new format for the country’s political future, President Ashraf Ghani said the transfer of power will happen through an election as an unchanging principle for his government.

Addressing a ceremony marking the start of the third year of the 17th legislative term of the National Assembly, Ghani said Afghanistan’s Constitution will decide on the future administration, not plans made by “others.”

“The transfer of power through elections is an uncompromisable principle for us. We are ready to talk about a free, transparent and countrywide election under the management of the international community. We can discuss and agree about its date,” said Ghani.

Ghani pledged that no decision will be made in absence of continued consultation with the people, as well as without the direct role and approval of all layers of Afghan society.

He emphasized the importance that peace efforts be expedited, but said the process requires proper management and planning.

“Our experience from the past has shown that achieving peace is not a mere dream. Achieving durable peace is possible but a peace in which violence ends and political, economic and social stability is ensured, requires commitment and sacrifice,” he said, adding that he is ready to sacrifice for peace, but not if it leads to the loss of the last decades’ achievements.

He added: “By sacrificing, I mean that all personal and group interests should be put aside, and people’s interests should be prioritized and peace should be seen as a sacred goal.”

Ghani reiterated that no one could decide to dissolve Afghanistan’s institutions that have been approved by the Constitution.

Calling the current opportunity for peace unprecedented and unique, Ghani said Afghans want an end to the war that has continued for 42 years, and that the public wants peace–but not the peace of the graveyard.

He reiterated that he will not allow the people’s efforts for democracy, freedom and preservation of the system to be wasted.

Khalilzad’s Meeting with Taliban

Khalilzad on Saturday met with Taliban negotiators in Qatar — for the first time since US President Joe Biden took office — and discussed the implementation of the Doha agreement and the reconciliation efforts, according to Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman of the group.

However, the Wall Street Journal has reported that the US envoy proposed the idea of a major conference of Afghan and Taliban leaders to create an interim government in Afghanistan.

This new conference would be patterned on the format of the 2001 conference held in Bonn, Germany, which selected a leader for Afghanistan after the Taliban were ousted following the Sept. 11 attacks, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Prior to his meeting with the Taliban delegates, Khalilzad met with the Republic negotiators who emphasized the need for an end to violence in order to move the peace process forward.