Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, August 17th, 2017

The Rocky Road of Peace Process

Terrorism, which increases the anguish and sufferings of individuals, is a relentless plight and blackmails the entire globe. Afghanistan bears the brunt of it and sustains heavy casualties and great loss annually. Bleeding never stops and the voice of victims falls on deaf ears. The heart-wrenching stories and life-threatening issues are unable to force tear into eyes and became a part of daily life. The peace process is going down a rocky road and Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC), which was established in 2010, failed to play a crucial role regarding peace and stability in the country.
After all, the HPC advisor Abdul Hakim Mujahid has said that the Taliban were angels of peace and the group was sacred, the words of whom drew a strong reaction from the nation’s representatives and led to his dismissal. Subsequently, senators asked President Ghani to dissolve the HPC for being a burden on the country rather than making any major breakthrough regarding peace. “We call on the supreme commander of the armed forces to dissolve the High Peace Council and instead use the money on the security forces,” one of the senators is cited as saying.
Last year, the Taliban violated human rights to a great extent as the late Mullah Akhtar Mansour declared Omari Operation and his successor followed his path. According to the recent report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) 8,000 civilians were killed and wounded in 2016 with a big percentage of these having been carried out by insurgents. Moreover, thousands of families left their homes due to insecurity. The report added that National Unity Government (NUG) leaders are caught up in a power struggle and HRW senior researchers have warned if the NUG does not bring reforms, the last 15 years’ worth of achievements will be lost.
Peace process has been debated hotly within almost a decade as a blame game kicked off between Afghan-Pak officials and the Taliban muddied the water without showing a bona fide intention for negotiation. It is an undeniable fact that Afghanistan and Pakistan are in the same boat as insurgency continues unabated. For instance, the attack on Bacha Khan University, which killed at least 21 people, was carried out by the TTP group. The attack on the University was claimed by TTP Geedar group’s commander Aurangzaib alias Khalifa Umar Ameer Naray, who was also involved in attacks on Peshawar’s Army Public School on December 2014 and Air Force’s Badabher camp on September 2015. The TTP widened its terrorist activities on a large scale. As a result, the US found out that “ISIL-K” is formed in Afghan-Pak border by members of TTP and Afghan Taliban.
Ultimately, a four-nation group, comprises Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the United States, was formed to broker peace talk with the Taliban. They held some meetings, the fourth one was held in Kabul on February 23, 2016, and called to stop violence and bloodshed and make peace. Moreover, Pakistani officials offered to host the first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives.
The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) was ended without a tangible breakthrough and sense of mistrust aroused between Pakistan on one side and Afghanistan and US on the other side as Omer’s successor Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in US drone strike.
After the cancellation of QCG, Russia, China and Pakistan formed a trilateral group over the instability about Afghanistan had its third round meeting lately which was criticized by Afghan administration.
Of late, Afghan local officials cited Taliban’s access to Russian weapons and night vision binoculars the reason behind increased casualties among Afghan forces and falling of some areas in western Farah province. This seems a complicated issue and will arouse a sense of mistrust between Afghan and Russian governments.
On the other hand, Pakistani army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has reportedly spoke to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and offered intelligence cooperation to curb terrorism together. Bajwa is also said to mourn the losses of lives in the attacks in Afghanistan and expressed sympathy with bereaved families, saying the tragic series of events have befallen people of both the brotherly countries over the last many years. He reiterated Pakistan's cooperation with the Afghan government and people to eliminate the scourge of terrorism, which is affecting peace and stability of the whole region.
If the ball is in the Taliban’s court, they will never succumb to Afghan’s peace offerings and their fundamental ideology makes them continue their indiscriminate killings. With the failure of HPC, Afghan representatives conclude that centralizing on peace talks will be a waste of time and HPC must be dissolved.
At this stage of the game, the NUG will have to reinforce Afghan the soldiers and continue military deal with all parties that turn blind eye to peace process. Moreover, Kabul and Islamabad are to bury the hatchet and strengthen their attacks against the Taliban sanctuaries and tighten the porous border. It is still the right time to practice upon the idea suggesting that “if you want peace, prepare for war”.