News Analysis |
Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, the Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States hoped for the peaceful settlement of the war in Afghanistan while speaking to the Women’s Foreign Policy Group in Washington. He asserted, “We know a lot is going on right now … this offer … is being considered [by the Taliban]. We haven’t seen a public response [to the dialogue offer] which is interesting.”
Pakistan always welcomed every peace initiative undertaken by any major state whether the US, Russia or China. It remained a frontline state in the war on terror. Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani’s invitation to the Taliban for holding unconditional peace talks have been seen as an extraordinary step taken by him during the first day of Kabul Peace Conference on February 28, 2018. Initially, the Taliban showed a cold response towards peace negotiations. According to U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s declaration in his latest unannounced visit to Kabul, only political reconciliation can bring victory (Peace) in Afghanistan. If the US wants to bring an end to this long war in Afghanistan, it has to bring other countries such as Russia and China on the table for the peace reconciliation process. The successful reconciliation process includes constructive dialogue to rebuild trust between the parties included in the process of negotiations.
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The US and the Taliban are entangled in a protracted war in Afghanistan. It is the people of Afghanistan who are suffering and have been deprived of the basic necessities of life. They have time and again iterated their commitment to fight the international military presence that they say is an occupation.
Up till now, Taliban have shown a cold response to Ghani’s offer as they claim that Ghani has no affiliation with the Afghan people. Currently, some states such as China, the US, and Pakistan are hoping that peace talks may go fruitful in future.
Ghani’s offer of peace talks not only includes a ceasefire, prisoners’ release but recognition of Taliban as a political party in order to facilitate Kabul based peace process.
Pakistan can facilitate these peace talks while seeking the cooperation of the government in Kabul against anti-Pakistan militant sanctuaries in Afghanistan.
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Pakistan and Afghanistan will not easily be able to cooperate ending their historical distrust between the two countries. The current peace talks altogether offer a potentially comprehensive path to eventual peace and stability in Afghanistan.
A stable Afghanistan is also necessary for Pakistan. Both countries have shared interests and history. Almost the whole infrastructure has been destroyed in this bloodshed and many lives lost as a result. Majority of the people in Afghanistan have no access to the basic necessities of life. An immediate solution to this war must be sought before it’s too late.