Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

The Kabul Process: A regional context for Peace and Security Cooperation

Peace is one of the issues that almost any Afghan wishes to be restored in the country. Lack of an Afghan-owned inclusive peace process has led to failure of peace efforts in the country. Decades of war and insecurity coupled with weak social cohesion have added to the complication of the peace process in Afghanistan; Now, Afghanistan needs more than any other time to an Afghan-led mechanism to end its conflicts through a negotiated political settlementby involving different influential partners in the process.
Necessary measures to reach a sustainable peace in Afghanistan
Considering the geopolitical position of Afghanistan, it is very difficult to reach a durable peace in the country without involving different regional, cross-regional and international partners in the peace process; to this end, the Afghan government shall be determined to lead the peace process and engage the region considering the multiple dimensions of the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan; because the main causes of conflicts lie in the Afghan society, armed groups, neighboring and regional countries and world actors. But, the root cause of the consisting conflicts lie in the historic bad governance system in the country. Therefore, peacebuilding in Afghanistan, calls for an inclusive peace vision that ensures the conflicting interests of all players. At the national level, the government shall take all the necessary measure to improve good governance in order to distribute all the resources and opportunities equally among the Afghan citizens and it shall ensure the concerns of all Afghans, including the minority groups and women in the peace process as well.
According to the Afghan Government Peace Policy, it aims to do this through seeking sustained stability on the basis of genuine state-to state relations with the region, which encompasses diplomatic, economic, political and security cooperation. However, reaching consensus among different players of peace in Afghanistan in such a broad area is not a simple task. So, Afghanistan peace vision shall ensure that peace in Afghanistan can ensure the concerns of all the relevant parties and ensures their strategic interests at the region, as a country with huge potentials to extend either peace or insecurity to the neighboring, regional and beyond the region.
A stable Afghanistan enables a Stable Region
As the history of Afghanistan in general and current conflicts in Afghanistan in specific show, it has the potential to either stabilize or destabilize the whole region and the other countries including the United Sates and the European countries. Different partners of Afghanistan have two options; a) to support Afghanistan to overcome the current conflicts to ensure a stable region; 2) not to support Afghanistan and thus put the region at the verge of conflict and instability. Afghanistan already has taken the initiative by starting the Kabul process and held the first Kabul Process Conference on June 2017. And at least 27 countries and international organizations attended the event. The second Kabul Conference is due to be held on February 28 in Kabul.  And 23 nations, the European Union, the United Nations and NATO will participate in this conference. One of the main lessons learned from the first Kabul Process is that, the government is determined to include more voices and ideas in the process at the meeting on the upcoming event and on ways to bring peace to the country. Therefore, the previous steps, the advices and views of the Afghan leaders, will be reflected and included in the Kabul Process Conference. Thus, this conference will ensure a mechanism to be developed by the regional partners to end violence and ensure sustainable peace, creating positive dividends for not only Afghanistan but the entire region. Indeed, such a mechanism will ensure will consolidate the regional cooperation as well. This conference aims to provide a fresh start for an open engagement and exchange that can lead to creation of stable Afghanistan, that its output will be a stable region.
As the conflict of Afghanistan has multiple causes, it requires all the participants, especially the regional actors, come to the conference with a clear vision and commitment to ensure Peace and security in Afghanistan. Such an approach not only creates synergy among the regional countries but reinforce the international commitment to the Peace Process in Afghanistan.
The second Kabul Conference is a unique opportunity for Afghanistan to project its peace vision to the regional, cross regional and international actors. Afghanistan may echo the massage of a stable Afghanistan leads to a stable region that can enjoy peace and partnership in economic and security areas. Such a vision can ensure and mobilize the different players in the Afghan conflict to participate in this process, because it ensures the overlapping interests of the different players and envision an Afghanistan that can engage all the partners to enjoy economic and security benefits. However, it requires a strong and dynamic diplomacy and a sustainable regional, cross regional and international engagement policy.