Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Afghanistan’s Peace Prospect

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Afghanistan’s Peace Prospect

Peace has remained elusive in Afghanistan and all efforts made in this regard came to a stalemate. Several institutions were established with the hope of replacing war with political discourse and peace, but the war continued unabated.
The Afghan High Peace Council (HPC) was founded when wars escalated and thousands of Afghan and foreign soldiers were fighting deadly battles against the Taliban. Unlike previous institutions, the HPC has begun its activities with stronger will and determination so as to gain new achievements. However, the struggles made by HPC met failure in the process of time and the armed groups gained upper hand in the conflicts and capitalized on HPC with having their prisoners released from Afghan and Pakistani prisons and Guantanamo and strengthened their stronghold against the government.
The public, civil and legal institutions highly disapproved of HPC stressing its inefficiency. The government was urged constantly to shut it down and invest its budget on defensive strategy and soldiers. The government, however, turned down the demand and kept up supporting it. Recently, the Afghan government seeks to strengthen this institution and facilitate it more than ever before. The appointment of new chairperson and increasing fresh forces in the administrative structure of this institution reflects the officials’ optimism and their intention to pave the ground for peace talks.
The head of HPC stated that he would present his new strategy regarding the negotiation of peace with warring parties so as to gain new achievements and put an end to the conflicts.
Nonetheless, it appears that peace is changed into a complicated issue in Afghanistan and the solution to this problem is highly difficult since peace in the country is an international issue rather than national one.
At the national level, a public consensus seems to be the cornerstone of peace. Peace process will not give the desired result unless it is backed by a wide-ranging people’s supports, which was proved in the past.
To gain national support, peace process should be defined and needs to be pointed out that whom the peace will be held with and on the basis of which circumstances. It is estimated that the public supported peace process and HPC in no way and the process continued without involving the nation. The government and HPC are advised to attract the support of nation and civil and legal institution and change their negative stance into positive one. Otherwise, this process is doomed to failure.
At international level, active lobbying is needed to regain the lost trust and attract the attention of foreign institutions regarding the new policy of HPC. The state must take effort to gain the support of Afghanistan’s allies, mainly in removing the obstacles which are hampering the process.
Pakistan needs to change its stance regarding Afghan peace process. It is believed that bringing in peace will be next to impossible in the country unless Islamabad and Pakistani officials change their policy for better.
Islamabad’s new approach towards Afghanistan’s peace process is not for paving the ground for a genuine talk, but due to being influenced by regional and international policy, being observed recently. The issue of Qatar and suppression of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group in Iraq and Syria and the US new strategy regarding Afghanistan, which also include Pakistan, have prompted Pakistani officials to move swiftly.
In a recent statement, a Pakistani official said that supporting peace in Afghanistan was a priority and Pakistan was ready to cooperate honestly with Kabul government. Kabul must prioritize political incentives and invite the Taliban to peace dialogue. Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani national security adviser, also emphasized peace talks as the only effective option. Meanwhile, he magnified the Taliban as a powerful group which had the ability to fight for many years in Afghanistan. Afghan government should try to provide peace and stability in the country through negotiation rather than war.
Although Pakistan has constantly expressed its preparation for cooperating with Afghan government, it gave lip service and did not fulfill its promise in this respect. So, Pakistan is hoped to change its policy without being pressurized by regional or international powers.
To sum up, the HPC will gain the necessary achievements if all sides – national and international bodies – include peace process in their agenda and take fundamental step in accordance with the government’s policy. The HPC should realize that this national process will not bear the desired fruit unless the council include all the components of this trend in its agenda and illustrate the prospect of peace in this war-torn country with diplomacy and management.

Liaqat Ali Amini is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at the outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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