Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Extending the Ceasefire with the Taliban: Trying effortlessly to change Illusion to Reality

Afghan President extended the ceasefire with the Taliban without giving a time frame to it. He did so, while some bombings had been carried out by the insurgents in the eastern part of the country during the previous unconditional ceasefire he had announced last week.
It is clear that there are some elements among the Taliban, the Afghan government and outside of it, which do not favor the ceasefire and prefer beating in the drum of the war.
It has several reasons: first, those elements among the Taliban who prefer war, are those who either do not have a clear understanding of the balance of the power or are deceived by their external supporters. They think that they may control the country once more and not only put in practice their harsh interpretation from Islam in Afghanistan but also would be able to restore the unquestionable influence of the neighboring country that supported and recognized them as a legitimate government in the past. Second, some of the Taliban only fight against the government because they think they have lost the ethnic privileges they had in the past in Afghanistan. For these Taliban fighters, Islam and Jihad are only the means, and not the goals. They know very well that they can justify their illegitimate conditions to the illiterate and strongly conservative members of their community by misusing Islam and its teachings. Third, there are some Taliban leaders who consider the war as an industry. The war in Afghanistan has different advantages for them. It not only guarantees the external supports to them, but keeps their war industry operational in Afghanistan to ensure their interests in the country. They also have unlimited access to misuse and in fact loot the natural resources by continuing the war in the country.
There are several reasons for those who support the war in the government or outside of the government as the oppositions to the Taliban: First, they assume Taliban as the agents of the outsiders that are mandated to either keep Afghanistan in war or dependent to their outsider supporters. As such, they think that defending Afghanistan against such elements is their sole responsibility. And if they do not so, their homeland may be inferior to another country or even it may be annexed to one of the neighboring countries. Second, there are some powerful elements in the government that have misused the resources that the international community have been providing to the government of Afghanistan during more than one and half decades. It is one of the root causes of the wide spread corruption in the security sector in Afghanistan. These elements receive contracts with huge amounts from the security sector institutions and provide low quality service against their contracts and share the benefits with those networks they have in the security sector institutions. Third, there are some warlords outside the government, who run their own security institutions. These warlords control some parts of the country and use the resources of these areas. They influence the peace process by creating challenges ahead of it in order to ensure the continuation of war in the country. They use different tactics to ensure this including fueling religious, local and racial conflicts in the country.
How to reach to a national consensus on peace initiatives in the country
This is an issue of trust building among the various ethnic groups in Afghanistan. The government of Afghanistan shall represent all the Afghan citizens in practice. It shall show practically that it distributes the resources equally among all regions and ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Also, the government shall pay a specific attention to the marginalized groups including women and youth in the country.
There are many challenges faced by peace process in Afghanistan. Afghan government can play a constructive and vital role to put an end to the war in the country, if it pursues a holistic trust building among different ethnic groups in the country. At the same time, it shall show in practice that it has a political will of nation building by distributing the scarce resources among different regions and ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Last but not least, reaching to peace is not an illusion if we change our perception to the ground realities of Afghanistan.