Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

Challenges and Opportunities of Peace Process in Afghanistan

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Challenges and Opportunities of  Peace Process in Afghanistan

Naturally, every social or political phenomenon has opportunities and challenges but the opportunities often overcome the challenges due to multiple reasons and factors. Unfortunately, this rule is reversely true in Afghanistan, especially in case of peace issues. For example, few years ago the condition of Syria and Iraq was worse than Afghanistan but now it is not comparable to the increasing crisis in Afghanistan. It seemed that the new peace process would open a new window for peace in Afghanistan but according to new reports and evidence it is more likely to face challenge or stalemate. Though the US special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmai Khalilzad, had expressed optimism during and after the seventh round US-Taliban and also on the sidelines of the third round intra-Afghan talks in Doha, for reached some agreements with Taliban. But according to Taliban act and expressions, it is as though that no significant agreement has reached between the two parts and also between Afghan politicians and Taliban as they are persistent to their dogmatic demands and destruction in the country.
The quadrilateral summit which recently held among the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan in China has not any substantial outcome that could help the peace process, and it is more likely to have ended without any real agreement. However, they have jointly urged the Taliban to immediately agree to a ceasefire and begin direct negotiations with the Afghan government to end the 18-year violence in the war-torn country. Thus, they re-affirmed that the negotiations should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” and produce a peace framework as soon as possible. “But according to some experts these diplomatic words does not convey any practical value. On the other hand, it is inferred from the latest twitted message of the US special envoy that the Bijing Meeting, like other peace talks, has not a practical result. All these interactions show that the United States Special Representative is facing significant challenges that each of them alone can bring Khalilzad’s efforts to complete failure.
The first challenge is the nature of Taliban and the goals that the leaders of this group are pursuing. Naturally they are an extremist group who never showed any improvement in their mentality and ideology. This group still organizes the largest terrorist and suicide attacks victimizing the civilians and non-civilians in the country. In recent months, in spite of running peace process in Qatar, the Taliban have persistently continued violence and war in Afghanistan. In the first days of current year, the group declared the al-Fatih operation against the Afghan government, and at the same time they intensified the war against the Afghan security forces and organized the worst suicide and terrorist attacks in cities and hometown centers.
The extremist nature of the Taliban caused them not to desist from the Islamic Emirate in all negotiations despite strong opposition by Afghan people. This illegitimate and inhumane demand may not matter to the other stakeholders, but it is a complete disaster for the people and government of Afghanistan. In all these years, the people of Afghanistan have fought and sacrificed to have a human life. Otherwise, there was no need to fight and tolerate all these 18 years of human and non-human expenses. Based on this, the question arises how the US-envoy is hopeful and how he is sure for the positive outcome of ongoing the peace process.
The second important challenge lies in the multidimensional angles and factors of conflict in Afghanistan. We all know that there are dozens of important factors for the continuation of the crisis and conflict in Afghanistan; none of which have yet come to an end and they are still interested in the continuation of the conflict. Though this fact is bitter for the people of Afghanistan, now it is undeniable and publically raised as overt fact that no way to escape from. Peace is the other side of war; as much as war has hidden and unhidden factors and dimensions, peace also has the same features but there is no one who has ever thought  about it or shared with people of Afghanistan.
Another important factor which challenges peace process and, ultimately will challenge the US special representatives is his personal preferences. As he was born in Afghanistan, he is an Afghani more than being an American, especially when he blamed for having personal preferences and hatreds to certain groups. That is why he tries to hide the entire process from the eyes of the media and the people; this secrecy caused that all cases, including peace process are considered as intelligence nature.
In such a situation, nothing is clear to the people of Afghanistan, and no Afghan citizen knows what is going on behind the closed doors? What are they negotiating about while the people of Afghanistan do not know anything about it?  This way, no trust will shape between people of Afghanistan and the US special representatives. This kind of secrecy will damage and distrust the whole process.
The last but not least challenge is the Trump election campaign in the US; he has vigorously advocated the US disengagement from endless wars but it is the best time to get the credit for the upcoming electoral competitions. Indeed, if Trump can withdraw the US troop from Afghanistan before the presidential election next year, it could raise his standing and brighten his chances of re-election barring some adverse domestic developments. In any way, Tramp wants to make a difference or achievement in Afghanistan, but a sustainable peace may not be possible in a hurry. According to a famous proverb, he wants to milk from a bull; this issue alone has put the special representatives in a difficult bottleneck.

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

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