Afghanistan Table of Contents
The accords did not bring peace to Afghanistan. There was little expectation among its enemies or the Soviet Union that the Kabul government would survive. Its refusal to collapse introduced a three-year period of civil war.
The Geneva process failed to prevent the further carnage which a political solution among Afghans might have prevented or lessened. It failed partially because the Geneva process prevented participation by the Afghan resistance. The DRA occupied Afghanistan's seat at the UN General Assembly. Denied recognition, the resistance leadership resented the central role that DRA was permitted to play at Geneva. When Cordovez approached the Mujahidin parties to discuss a possible political settlement in February 1988--more than five years after negotiations began--they were not interested. Their bitterness would hover over subsequent efforts to find a political solution.
Considerable diplomatic energy was expended throughout 1987 to find a political compromise that would end the fighting before the Soviets left. While Pakistan, the Soviet Union and the DRA haggled over a timetable for the Soviet withdrawal, Cordovez worked on a formula for an Afghan government that would reconcile the combatants. The formula involved Zahir Shah, and by extension, the leading members of his former government, most of whom had gone into exile. This approach also called for a meeting in the Loya Jirgah tradition representing all Afghan protagonists and communities. It was to reach a consensus on the features of a future government. The Jirgah also was to select a small group of respected leaders to act as a transitional government in place of the Kabul government and the mujahidin. During the transition a new constitution was to be promulgated and elections conducted leading to the installation of a popularly accepted government. This package kept reemerging in modified forms throughout the civil war that followed. Suggested roles for the king and his followers slipped into and out of these formulas, despite the implacable opposition of most of the mujahidin leaders.
The peace prospect faltered because no credible consensus was attainable. By mid-1987 the resistance forces sensed a military victory. They had stymied what proved to be the last set of major Soviet offensives, the Stinger missiles were still having a devastating effect, and they were receiving an unprecedented surge of outside assistance. Defeat of the Kabul government was their solution for peace. This confidence, sharpened by their distrust of the UN virtually guaranteed their refusal of a political compromise.
Source: U.S. Library of Congress