Road Towards Peace, Stability of Afghanistan By Adeela Ahmed

AFGHANISTAN is a state which is viciously suffering from chaos and Instability. The people of Afghanistan have been in the anguish of wars since long and in recent months it has been estimated that around 10,000 innocent people have been killed. Consequently, religious and ethnic hatred has increased adding more to injury, corrupt regimes have become the very reason for unemployment and economic degradation. The precious natural resources are being plundered by the external forces. At the societal level, around 10 percent of the population is a drug addict. The rate of smuggling has increased to 87 percent. Surely, Afghanistan cannot rehabilitate without the economic, educational, cultural, social and political prosperity. In such an adverse situation, the national stability of Afghanistan seems uncertain. So, there is dire need to address the major irritants and bargain an ultimate consensus among belligerents.
The dynamics of the Afghan war are significantly changing day by day. A new round of peace talks has been initiated after a violent period of war. The main determinant behind this transformation is that Taliban are now in a strong position which bends US grand strategy in Afghanistan to move towards a flexible policy of direct peace talks. More than 70 to 75% of the land is practically under Taliban control while the Afghan Government is fighting to take control of 132 districts. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also supported that political negotiations are needed to end the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan. He said that the continued fighting in the war-torn country was “pointless and counterproductive. These facts are realized by US Administration now after making Afghanistan graveyard but Pakistan forecast it many years back.
The principled state like US, Afghanistan (Afghan Taliban-Afghan Government) and Pakistan along with regional players India, Iran, China, Central Asian States, Middle East, and Russia are extremely vigorous to play their role in Afghan reconciliation process. The vulnerable situation of Afghanistan is not only confined to its territorial boundaries but it is an alarming fact for the entire region. Peace is relative process and peace in Afghanistan is essential for regional prosperity. Henceforth, for the peaceful political settlement of Afghan issue many direct and indirect talks for peace-making have been in the process. It included high official level meetings: Kabul process, several bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral and multilateral efforts, Murree peace process, Russia-China-Pakistan trilateral dialogue, US direct talks with Taliban at Qatar, Moscow Conference in which 11 countries participated including Taliban, US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad’s meetings with different states and US high official’s various visits to South Asia.
These peace initiatives are playing the role of catalyst to move the snail towards the road of peace and stability. Such steps are small and occasionally fragile but a ray of hope for Afghan peace can prevail. In these talks, the Taliban desired three demands from US Administration in which the top one is of the release of prisoners. Their second demand is to exclude their names from ECL while last demand is that the US should give Taliban timeframe to exit from Afghanistan, end this unfruitful war and stop using all types of sophisticated weapons including chemical weapons. In addition to that Taliban wanted to articulate the Constitution of Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan so that they can live freely. The US cannot fulfil Taliban demand for evacuation immediately due to its own geopolitical-strategic interest in the region. The US wanted to stay in Afghan territory so that can better monitor the activities of China, Pakistan, Iran and Russia. However, bargaining is in process between the US and Taliban to find some way after consensus. While in the case of prisoners, Taliban have given the list of 10,000 prisoners to US Administration and the US Government is working to resolve Taliban prisoners issue of Pul Charkhi and Baghram Jail.
If Russia is successful to eradicate the irritants in the Afghan reconciliation process then it will be a great failure for the USA. Russia and China are eager to find some common ground for peace due to their security parameters. Russia is worried about increased influence of Daesh in Afghanistan as a high number of Uzbek and Tajik warriors are part of Daesh. China also wanted peace talks to be successful as it can affect their OBOR project. This is the reason that both countries are highly active for peace talks. In Moscow Conference, Russian Foreign Minister assured Taliban that their land will not be exploited any more by external powers. If China and Russia become successful to find a peaceful way of resolution then the strategic role of India and US in the South Asian region would be badly affected. Afghanistan is in the limelight of Great Game due to its strategic position between the Eurasian heartland and the Indian Ocean. The race of US, China and Russia to influence region makes Afghan peace more complex. There is a need to build a consensus to boost political stability. For that purpose, unity within Afghan warlords and political parties is crucial. It is just a way to give strength to the roots of the reconciliation process. Taliban along with Afghan government must work for constructive engagement and dialogue. A politically negotiated settlement is the only way forward.
With changing dynamics, the US “Do-more” mantra has also been transformed. After serious allegations and accusations, they are willing to recognize Pakistan as a stabilizer in regional politics. US weak position vis a vis Taliban has convinced them to seek assistance from Pakistan to persuade Taliban. No doubt Pakistan is earnest to cooperate for a political settlement in Afghanistan because peace in Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s best interest. But Pakistan decision-makers must keep historical facts in mind while dealing with US administration and must go with Pakistan First Policy. US should comprehend from the past statistics that the world can survive without USA intrusion. It is open notice for US policymakers and Administration that there is still time to think over it. Peace in Afghanistan is imperative but is in illusion and it is peace that will reassure more economic activity among Central Asia, Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan. It will benefit Afghanistan and its neighbouring states to expand trade and economy and to exterminate poverty, educational, cultural, social and political issues.
— The writer works for Pakistan Conflict and Security Studies Islamabad.
Source: https://pakobserver.net/road-towards-peace-stability-of-afghanistan/

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