Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, December 4th, 2020

The Peace Talks: Historic Opportunity to Review the past and Decide about Future

The past forty years of war and destruction has not only caused more than 6 million migrations with millions more disabled, widowed and orphaned, but also  drew back the country to one of the poorest and backward countries in the world. These wars and destructions which most often carried out under name of Jehad neither served the religion and nor benefited the country. Now, the named of Afghanistan is linked with poverty, corruption, addiction, drug smuggling, migration, terrorism and so on. And likewise, the name of religion is knotted with violence and terrorism while war and felonies are against divine traditions. Some of Afghan citizens when go abroad, they feel shy to say that they are from Afghanistan because the name of Afghanistan has long been linked with killings and brutality. Only, in few last years, It is said that nearly 70 thousand Afghan soldiers were martyred with thousands more civilians and Taliban fighters who were also Afghans. These causalities and victims neither led to political and economic independence and nor domination of one side on the others. Therefore, the Intra-Afghan Peace Talks is a historic opportunity to review the past report card and rationally decide about the future.
It must be notified that the current opportunity and commencement of intra-Afghan talks has not achieved easily as there were disagreements between many sides, including the Afghan government and political community.  Much has been scarified for creation of this opportunity and therefore, both teams of negotiators must attend the talks table with genuine intention so that it may lead to an end to war in the country. It is very important that Afghans alone be the masters of their destiny without outside influence or interference and does not allow any spoilers from within and from without to pose formidable challenges during the peace talks.  The Afghan people also expect regional and international stakeholders to support and Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process while respecting the consensus to emerge from the intra-Afghan negotiations. In some cases, they may need to use their influence on the Taliban to encourage them come down from their dogmatic positions so that Afghans pay no further sacrifices and not let the country return to the dark era.
The Intra-Afghan talks are not only a historic opportunity to make internal agreement about peace but also modify our relationships with neighbors, especially Pakistan. The persistence of direct and verbal hostility with Pakistan does not only benefit the country but also it will increase the sufferings of Afghan people. Given the past years, Pakistan is the most influential country on fate of Afghanistan. In the past 40 years, Pakistan has been able to successfully shape the destiny of regimes, resistances, wars and development opportunities. This country with supporting Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet-backed government won the war in the country. And then it succeeded in creating fundamental obstacles to formation of a powerful and inclusive government inciting civil war in the country. After these, Pakistan successfully supported Taliban regime to control over more than 90 percent of Afghanistan. After the fall of Taliban regime in 2001, Once again the powerful and nuclear-equipped neighbor stood against march of tens of thousands of security forces pertained to the world’s largest and most powerful military alliance in Afghanistan, and slowly and step by step its proxy fighters dominated on nearly half of the country. Now, after nearly two decades, still the fate of Afghanistan’s conflict and settlement is in the hand of Pakistan.
No matter how much our true or false patriotic feelings are damaged, nothing diminishes the fact that we are trapped in the clutches of Pakistan. Pakistan is not only equipped with nuclear power but also considered as a political power in regional and global level. For example, Pakistan is considered as seventh most powerful army in the world, it is engaged in conflicts with a power as large as India, it is an active player among Islamic world and South Asia and considered as strategic option for security and military partnership for the regional and world superpower.  Afghanistan is not even a small opponent against Pakistan in any field except expressing feelings, suffering and complains which many or many not cause some the psychological and humanitarian pressure while the international policies are made on the basis of rationality, not sentiment.
In the face of a country that has all these domination, Afghanistan has no choice but to interact and pursue a prudent policy with Pakistan in order to achieve stability, development and peace. Nevertheless, it does not mean a tribute to Pakistan or a humiliating surrender.  What Afghanistan needs is a fundamental and in-depth review of its confrontation with Pakistan and the need to move beyond hostility shows. Unfortunately, sometimes the Durand Line issue is used as a populist and hostility tool against Pakistan. If any ones want to raise such issues, they should present their legal and historical justifications so that all nations get awareness about it. According to some analysts,  if recognition or even conservative acknowledgment of the Durand Line border is a tribute or  white check to Pakistan, then Afghanistan should have a problem with all of its borders with its four other neighbors. Anyway, if our politicians are not accustomed to using such political rationality in internal politics, they have to change their political attitude in foreign policy otherwise unpleasant consequences are inevitable.