Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, June 24th, 2021

Roles of Civil Society in Peace Building

Civil Society organaizations play a vital role in peace builidng. The roles that civil society plays vary in the manner in which they participate in peace building across the cases. In some parts, CSOs and local leaders can participate directly in early warning, civilian monitoring and inter-positioning. Nevertheless, they play an advocacy function by promoting the idea of peace. Civil society can highly be embedded in peace building but the government sometimes curtails its role in a number of ways. Even so, civil society is able to wield the “power to expose” injustices and surface conflict non-violently.
In the context of Afghanistan, working with civil society is a must to peace building efforts. However, peace building efforts are complicated by the multiplicity of actors, the relative isolation of the country and the uncertain impact that democratization might have on inter-ethnic politics— among a very long list of concerns. Based on this sample of varied but relevant experiences in Central and Southeast Asia, Afghanistan can initiate launching specific discussions on peace building in the county.
Develop an operational conflict analysis
Before all else, peace builders including the Setae Ministry for Peace, needs to develop an operational conflict analysis, with enough depth to anticipate potential consequences of any program intervention. Afghanistan is a system of different moving parts that will react to both internal and external changes. A good conflict analysis will not wholly prevent negative consequences, but it can reveal key leverage points that can strengthen and amplify peace building opportunities.
Strengthen the discourse for peace in militarized situations
Initiating discourse entails great personal risk. Public participation and overt activation of society is part and parcel of most of today’s peace building activities— however, if basic security is highly uncertain, as it is in most districts and many provincial capital cities of Afghanistan, eliciting visible forms of participation must be carefully considered. Civil society efforts under difficult, militarized conditions can be best supported through encouraging combatants toward political, rather than violent, solutions to the conflict. If conflicting parties refuse civil society any meaningful space in peace processes, CSOs may still help to expand consensus in society for a non-violent approach. In this case, COSs may work as a traditional institution like tribal elders institution to play a mediatory role in peace building in the insecure areas.
Enable Afghan civil society to access The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), entry-points.  SCO can play an important role in convening political discussion, buffering member states’ sensitivities and finding ways around the once rigid principle of non-interference. CSO is advancing a political-security community in the region, which includes conflict prevention, confidence building, preventive diplomacy and post-conflict peace building.
A democratizing Afghanistan has much to gain from integrating further in Asia. Its affinity to SCO allows Afghanistan to strengthen its ties with neighboring powers like China and India. 
Foster Asia-Europe exchanges for peace building
The European Union is one of main supporters of Afghanistan. It plays a strategic role in Afghanistan peace talks and peace building efforts. In addition to the EU’s suite of peace building tools, it specifically can help Afghanistan on conflict management. One key example relevant to Afghanistan is developing capacity for early warning and response mechanisms, particularly in situations of ethnic conflict. EU is a trusted entity that can mediate between the Afghan government  and the Taliban.
The opening up of Afghanistan to new initiatives brings with it a number of attendant risks. South East and Central Asia a source of rich experiences—both successes and failures—from which Afghanistan can draw important lessons. South East and Central Asia is also an active regional community prepared to continue supporting democratization and peace building in Afghanistan.
Peace building is one of the key issues in Afghanistan. As Afghanistan is getting ready for the new round of the Afghan peace talks and the new government may take office in the coming months that peace forms its most urgent and important priority, Afghanistan needs the technical and financial supports of the regional and international community to achieve a lasting peace. In this regard, Afghanistan shall develop a comprehensive mechanism to form a national consensus on the peace talk’s agenda in order to be able to interact strategically both with the Taliban and international community on the peace efforts to reach a good deal at the end. The last but not the least, Afghan Civil Society Organizations play a key role in the success of Afghanistan in peace building. Therefore, the CSOs must be involved led in the Afghan peace talks to ensure a lasting peace in the country.