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

Youth Inclusion in the Afghan Peace Talks

Afghan youth have been the main victims of the war in Afghanistan. They have fought in both fronts; the front of the Afghan government and the Taliban. The international community and Afghan government emphasis on consensus building to ensure successful negotiation in the peace talks. This requires replacing the traditional elite-dominated peace talks with an inclusive approach in order to guarantee a broader participation of all walks of Afghans that can influence the success of a peace process. To ensure this, practical frameworks shall be developed to target the specific and meaningful inclusion of youth in a peace process and political dialogue.
Afghanistan stands at a critical juncture as it progresses towards a peace deal with the Taliban. The formal peace process known as the Afghan Peace Process is currently starting after it was stopped by the United Sates President when Taliban staged a suicide attack in Kabul killing several civilians and a US great soldier. Afghan youth shall be included in the Intra-Afghan peace negotiations between the Afghan Talban, seeking to end over 4 decades of civil war. 
Without a formal avenue for inclusion, young people in Afghanistan have taken initiatives that seek to build peace through informal track two and three mechanisms at the community, state, and national levels – laying important foundations to sustain a peace momentum. Yet youth in Afghanistan have not been recognized nor harnessed fully for their peace and mediation capabilities. Without a heavy burden of the past, young people have immense potential to support creative mechanisms in moving the peace process forward and building genuine peace. With conflict dynamics becoming increasingly complex in Afghanistan, there may be measures to deal with youth inclusion. However, now is the time to see youth as an asset, rather than a burden for the peace process, to foster sustainable peace.
It is more than 4 decades that Afghanistan is caught up in the civil war.  During this period, several reconciliation processes has been initiated. Thus, all of them have not ended to a comprehensive peace and stability in the country. It is about one year that the US has started direct talks with the Taliban to end one of the longest wars of the US. However, as the Afghanistan past peace efforts show, the only way to reach a compressive peace deal in Afghanistan is to include all the stakeholders in the peace process. There are different players in the Afghanistan conflict; Afghanistan neighboring countries, regional and international powers.
In addition to the inclusion of external stakeholders in the Afghan peace process, inclusion of all Afghan stakeholders is equally important in the process. Afghan youth, is one of the main stakeholders that shall be fully included in this process. In fact, Afghan youth can act as a catalyst between the government and the Taliban. As the Afghan youth have been the main victim of the war in the country, they can be the champions of the peace measures as well. They not only have the potentials but have the political will to put an end to the longstanding conflicts of the country.