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Regional consensus on peace in Afghanistan

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Regional consensus on peace in Afghanistan
 More than 20 countries and organizations during the two-day Tashkent Conference declared that peace and security in Afghanistan were essential for prosperity in the region and bringing an end to years of violence and suffering of the Afghan people.
A joint declaration issued at the end of the March 27 meeting in the Uzbek capital, Tashkent, noted the signatories’ “strong backing for the National Unity Government’s offer to launch direct talks with the Taliban, without any preconditions.”They also called upon the Taliban to “accept this offer for a peace process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.”
The conference was attended by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, European Union foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, and a number of foreign ministers, including Sergei Lavrov of Russia, Wang Yi of China, and Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu. The United States was represented by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon.
Earlier this month, President Ghani offered to allow the Taliban to establish itself as a political party and said he would work to remove sanctions on the militant group, among other incentives, if it joined the government in peace negotiations.In turn, the militants would have to recognize the Kabul government and respect the rule of law.
But the Taliban has not yet commented, but earlier had ruled out direct talks with Kabul and insisted it would only negotiate with the United States. The Taliban also says that NATO forces must withdraw before negotiations can begin. Meanwhile the United States has refused to withdraw troops and insisted that the Afghan government must play a lead role in peace negotiations.
Addressing Tashkent Conference, President Ghani said the threats facing the international community today were from transnational terrorist networks and transnational criminal organizations. “Both are deeply interconnected, do not respect borders, and our global in reach and influence.”
Based on President’s remarks, to effectively confront these threats, it is essential that the region take away the platform inside Afghanistan that the Taliban provides to transnational terrorist and criminal networks. “Inclusion of Taliban through a political process in the fabric of society and polity will enable national, international and regional energies to focus on the threats of terror and criminality.”
It is for the interest of countries in the region to take action and do their best to stop the conflicts in Afghanistan, otherwise the conflict could spread to neighboring countries and eventually destabilize the entire region.
The international community, especially important organizations like the UN and EU’s cooperation is vital for boosting the peace process. Meanwhile regional powers, especially Afghanistan’s immediate 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.
The Central Asia countries and Afghanistan are united by a shared history, culture and geography. They have an enormous potential for jointly tackling regional threats, increasing trade and connectivity.The conference indeed gives appropriate prominence to Afghanistan’s neighbors and partners, as well as countries who have also supported the post-2001 political order and reconstruction effort.
It is important that the region should acknowledge the Afghan-owned nature of the peace process and commit to accepting the agreement reached between the Taliban and the government.