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

Where is the Key to Peace: Kabul or Islamabad?


Where is the Key to Peace: Kabul or Islamabad?

Recently the Pakistani Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said that Pakistan is ready to help Afghanistan in post-settlement reconstruction and development. He assured that Pakistan would remain committed to durable peace and stability in Afghanistan, terming it a pre-requisite for development and prosperity of the region. He also promised to reopen its airspace for Afghanistan-India flights in next few days. According to Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority, Pakistan will reopen its airspace for flights on June 14. It is hoped that this cooperation leads to deeper cooperation and bilaterally find the lost key of peace in Afghanistan.
Thus, both countries have showed some flexibility and started some newly political communication; The meeting of the president Ghani with Imran Khan in the margin of the Islamic countries’ summit in Saudi Arabia, the trip of the national security adviser to Pakistan, the Sind evaluation meeting of the two countries and the recent Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity in Islamabad and finally the impending travel of the President to Pakistan are some example for this improvement which also caused some optimism.
This skeptic improvement comes after several years of tension between the two countries with imploring Taliban to stop destructive war in the country. Undoubtedly, the issue of ending war and reaching peace in Afghanistan has been one of the main agenda that pursued by the government. As being one of the top priorities, it devoured a lot of fiscal and non-fiscal facilities from the already suffering people Afghanistan. With attempting to start peace negotiation with Taliban, many of the political and economic opportunities have been wasted while no positive outcome has produced yet. The very recent examples for this failure were the Qatar and Moscow meetings that the delegations of Afghanistan have not received anything other than humiliation and disgrace. Reversely, it created opportunities for Taliban to promote their political position and prestige in international arena.
Although everybody knows that war and peace in Afghanistan are managed from the outside, yet we are expecting peace and meaningful talks from the Taliban which seems paradoxical and more like a puzzle. If we believe that the Taliban is a group created by foreign countries, if we believe that the formation of Taliban group is a political project for political purposes, if we know that the Taliban are not independent in their policies and attitudes, then why do we waste a lot of resources in attempting talks with Taliban? Why the Taliban is always awarded one-sided advantage or awards while running a proxy war in the country.
Today’s question “Where is the key to peace?” has become a kind of metaphor that Afghan citizens use it in different ways. The Former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, had said that the key to peace in Afghanistan is in the hand of US and Pakistan. A number of other politicians believe that this key is only in Islamabad and Rawalpindi of Pakistan but Once Khalilzad had said that the key to peace is in Kabul. In recent years, some of analysts refer it to the capital of some Arab countries or Moscow. Our current problem is that we have lost the key to peace and we do not know where to look for it. So, if we find the right address of key to peace, we would be able to solve the unresolved puzzle which is emanating from same point.
This unresolved puzzle has also affected our diplomacy with foreign countries. If today our foreign policy does not have enough rationality and stability, this originates from unstable and shaky political bases. We do not know where the key of peace is; sometimes we are seeking in America, sometimes we give our hearts to the Arab countries, and sometimes we give concession to Pakistan, and sometimes beg from Russia. In fact, the ship of our peace effort is drifting over an ocean without knowing the real destination.
Unfortunately, due to unsustainable and irrational political policies, the situation in Afghanistan has become so complicated and intertwined with multiple issues that we can hardly identify a single country as a factor in creating, intensifying and continuing the war in Afghanistan.For example, the role that the United States and Pakistan have had over the past years in Afghanistan, do not have now. The emergence of other countries in the field of competition and the extent of their role and influence in the intensification and continuation of war and peace has changed the judgments and perceptions of the past.
As a result, the US government though seems more flexible and may have retreated from some of its positions had in the past but cannot convince Taliban to end war in Afghanistan. The Taliban has not accepted even a single day of ceasefire while requested by the whole nation and neither agreed to sit in peace table with legitimate government of Afghanistan.  Today, the Taliban group is not dependent to a single country; rather, it has established its relations with various countries and receives financial assistance and weapons from many countries.
In the past, Pakistan was blamed as a father of Taliban but today, due to addition of multiple supporters to Taliban, Pakistan may not have the previous influence over the Taliban group. However, the role of Pakistan in establishing peace in Afghanistan is undeniable provided that Pakistan desists from its dual policies and honestly pursues its interests in Afghanistan’s peace and development. Thus, Afghanistan should also manage its relation with Pakistan on the basis of international norms and standard, and sensibly respond to Pakistan’s legitimate concerns and demand. This seems to be the real point that the two countries can cooperate on peace issue in Afghanistan.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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