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September 17, 2018
The Kabul Times
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Int’l community’s supportive role vital in Afghan peace process

Peace has remained elusive in Afghanistan and all efforts made in this regard came to a stalemate. Several countries and institutions made efforts with the hope of replacing war with political discourse and peace, but the war continued unabated.
President Ghani’s call for ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr days signaled a new hope for peace, as thousands of Taliban fighters came to major cities and celebrated the Eid days together with Afghan soldiers and the people. The government has also been planning to announce another ceasefire in the coming Eid days.
Meanwhile, media reports suggest that Taliban has confirmed it held direct talks with the United States in Qatar this week on finding a negotiated end to the 17-year war in Afghanistan. A senior Taliban official told VOA that Alice Wells, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, led the American delegation in the meeting in Doha.
The insurgents official, speaking on condition of anonymity explained the “preliminary” dialogue focused merely on “laying the groundwork for future contacts and meetings” between the Taliban and the U.S.
“The United States is exploring all avenues to advance a peace process in close consultation with the Afghan government,” said the State Department official to VOA when asked for a reaction to reports of talks with the Taliban. The official made it clear that the Afghan government was fully involved in the effort to jump-start peace talks. “Any negotiations over the political future of Afghanistan will be held between the Taliban and Afghan government,” said the State Department official.
Meanwhile Afghan presidential spokesperson in Kabul while responding about the talks in Qatar said her government would welcome any step that would restore peace in the country. Durani Waziri emphasized, however, that foreigners are playing “a supportive role to facilitate the peace process but Afghans themselves will lead it.”
The international community’s cooperation is vital for boosting the peace process. Meanwhile regional powers, especially Afghanistan’s close neighbors, have influence over the Taliban, they can convince the Taliban leaders to sit down with the government of Afghanistan to reach an agreement on ending the war in their country. No direct negotiations with others to bring positive results on the ongoing war in the country if the government of Afghanistan is not involved in the process.
Considering the temporary ceasefire in the country which was an Afghan-led and owned initiative, Taliban can hold direct talks with the elected and legitimate government of Afghanistan and put end to the ongoing bloodshed and violence in the country that only take lives of the innocent Afghan masses.
It is worth to mention that the region should acknowledge the Afghan-owned nature of the peace process and support the process for the sake of stability and peace in itself too.
It is in the interest of countries in the region to have their supportive role and do their best to stop the conflicts in Afghanistan, otherwise it could spread to neighboring countries and eventually destabilize the entire region.

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