Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, April 4th, 2020

The Components of Sustainable Peace in Afghanistan

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The Components of Sustainable  Peace in Afghanistan

At the beginning of twentieth century, the geopolitical theories were highly highlighted in the world but it lost its importance after invention of continental missiles and emergence of new theories in international relations. Despite this, some political schools such as Copenhagen security school emphasizes on importance of regional geopolitics and gives more importance to distance of security threats. According to Barry Buzan, who is a renowned security studies theorist, we need to reduce the level of analysis from the global level to the regional level to have more objective understanding from security threats. Therefore, he believes that all those countries which are located in a specific geography and have security effect on one and other form a regional security complex such as Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia. However, Buzan does not include Afghanistan to any specific collections believing that Afghanistan acts as buffer state between the three security complexes - Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia.
Historically, this has been more than one century that Afghanistan is influenced by the Central Asia and South Asia region. Sometimes Afghanistan was considered as buffer state between British India and Soviet Union, and sometimes the British or Russians directly or indirectly used the Afghan kings and commanders to weaken each and another. So, regionally Afghanistan had been largely affected by the set of security in South and Central Asia. Though, during the World War I and World War II, Afghanistan chose a neutral position, but in the late 1970s with joining the Eastern bloc, it broke down the regional balance and Afghanistan became a place for the US retaliation. With supporting Afghan Jehadist group, the United States played an important role in trapping the Soviet Union on Afghanistan’s soil. After the end of Cold War, Afghanistan lost its geopolitical importance but the 9/11 events brought the country back to the center of great powers’ attentions.
In clearer term, prior to the 9/11 event, Afghanistan had been affected by regional powers but after that, the international variable also added in war and peace of the country.  Meanwhile, the internal weaknesses and historic tensions among different ethnic and religious groups have also paved the way for interference of regional and international factors in the country. So, in order to reach a sustainable peace in the country, our policy makers should consider all these factors. The today’s complicated conflicts of Afghanistan is neither the result of a single factor and nor will have a single solution.
In terms of internal factors, the world experiences shows that the deep feeling of unity and oneness is the first and most important factor for protection and security of every country. It must come out from national will through creating good educational system, good political culture and good political system. Unfortunately, most of the Afghan ethnic politicians have not left a good legacy and political culture in the country. They used ethnic gaps as a political tool for reaching their individuals goals. They thought if the ethnic divisions are eliminated from the country, they would no longer be a leader. They concerned to lose many of the advantages which received under name of ethnicity and so their personal interests required highlighting the ethnic issues in the country. Similarly, there were also some politicians who were worried about losing monopoly of power when the culture of meritocracy institutionalized in the country.  However, the monopolistic policy has not benefited any group in the country.  All the ethnic groups including Pashtun, Tajic, Hazaras, Uzabek and so on are extremely suffering from the consequences of domestic division in the country.
In terms of regional factors, Afghanistan needs to gain the support of regional countries because peace and security the country is largely rooted in its region.  If the peace process is not supported by the regional factors such as china, Russian, India, Iran and especially Pakistan, it would be a great challenge for sustainable peace in the country. Given the broad border and wide cultural and historical relations with Pakistan, the role of Pakistan would be more important. If Pakistan wholeheartedly supports the peace process, the role of others would be limited. Pakistan is considered as second home for most of Afghans and so it must have no security concerns from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Pakistan and all other neighboring countries should have experienced that an insecure Afghanistan will not be in their interests. An insecure Afghanistan can neither play its natural geo-economic role and nor able to eliminate the terrorisms and addictive drugs from which blackmail the entire region. Therefore, if the regional countries do not support from the peace process, Afghanistan would be an unpredictable place for these countries.     
In terms of international factors, everyone knows that the presence of US in Afghanistan has imposed them heavy financial burden and so they are not interested to continue the trends. However, it does not mean that the US has no more responsibility about Afghanistan. If the US troops withdrawal or the peace agreement with Taliban blemish the two decades achievements in Afghanistan, it will neither be acceptable for American public opinion and nor will comply with the content of strategic agreement with Afghanistan. In 2001, Afghan people welcomed the international community so as to provide the multilateral interests and improve the world security. Therefore, any belittlement to the democratic achievements and human rights values will be disrespect to thousands of security forces that devoted their lives in last two decades 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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