How to approach a sustainable peace in Afghanistan?

By: Abdulhadi Achakzai

After 4 decades of continued civil war in Afghanistan, the beauty, greenery and natural magnificence of this country has been ruined in a random condition. Since then, Afghanistan has been suffering from such chronic instability and internal conflicts. Due to the geographic position between the Middle East Central Asia and southern Asia the country has been used as a battleground for strategic wars by larger external powers. In such deliberate condition peace in Afghanistan has been described as a significant necessity to eradicate 40 years of endless war. When Second Kabul Process Conference held on 28 February, 2018, President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani announced inclusive proposals to the Taliban group. Main parts of the proposals were; the Afghan government is prepared to hold talks with the Taliban group anywhere inside the country. Recognizing Taliban group as a political party. He also proposed the Taliban group to conduct cease fire, transitional confidence building and pave the way for widespread elections, revision of constitution of Afghanistan and implantation of law. The president also proposed to release the Taliban political prisoners and remove the Taliban group members from the sanctions list. Opening political office for the Taliban and issue passports for them to freely travel anywhere.

The President Ghani dispatched about declaring peace process was steady progress stance to enter to the negotiation with Taliban. Despite the struggles and endeavors of the Afghan government and international partners, nine round talks between the U.S special envoys to the Afghanistan peace process have been leaded. Three round Intra-Afghan negotiation have been conducted among the Afghan political parties and Taliban representatives in Duha. But, there is still no any immediate end to the Afghanistan current conflict and violence. Every day hundreds of civilians are being killed and the Afghan government is failing to extend its control in many parts of the country.

The theory of peace process “peacebuilding, peacemaking and peacekeeping” has been experienced in the world-wide. In the earth, no place is left without conflict, every developed country has experienced violence and local conflicts. Colombia has endured the longest-running civil war with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group for more than 40 years. After numerous strives and efforts to end war, in 2012 a successful peace process was initiated between the Colombian government and the FARC group which a final agreement signed in November 2016. Indonesia government fought with Aceh movement for more than 30 years. In 2005 they reached to sign an agreement and make a peaceful environment to live in. There is no doubt that Afghanistan issue is completely different from other countries. Long-running war in Afghanistan has many reasons behind but recent internally and externally efforts are spot of getting to a new peace deals.

National consensus and political settlements in Afghanistan

National consensus and political settlements are also substantive and radical solutions for Afghanistan long-lasting war. In last two years the government has conducted numerous consultative meetings (Jirgas) with different groups of people. In 2018 a huge participatory Ulema (religious scholar’s) conference was conducted, more than 2900 Ulama attended from different parts of the country. The Ulema announced fatwa that the ongoing war in Afghanistan is forbidden under the Islamic law. Consultative Loye Jirga on peace was conducted in April 2019, 3200 elected delegates attended from every part of the country. They discussed the measures on how to initiate dialogue with Taliban and a negotiable settlement to Afghanistan’s prolonged conflict. Moreover, many other conferences conducted inside and outside the country to end ongoing violence, while the Taliban and their leaders rejected.

Political parties and religious scholars have major role in Afghan peace process, but there is no reliable political consensus to mediate peace process and pave the way for intra-Afghan dialog. The consequence of the Afghan political party’s talk with the Taliban in Russia, UAE and Doha has been ruined unclear. To build real peace in the country, national partnership and political consensus are crucial.

Current status of the peace process

Afghanistan war is often described as one of the deadliest conflict in the world, causing more casualties than the fighting in Syria, Libya and Yemen. To end the conflict and build peace a radical new approach is needed. US special envoy to Afghanistan peace process conducted nine round talks with Taliban, during the recent 9th round negotiation they have reached to finalize a declaration. After the declaration intra-Afghan negotiation is expected to commence. Although, two major processes are nearly happening, election and peace, these both are different important processes which determines the future of the country.

To reduce violence and achieve sustainable peace in Afghanistan, two things are important to be considered by all involved sides. 1) An immediate cease-fire, 2) commencement of intra-Afghan dialog. While, both parties Government and Taliban conduct comprehensive cease fire, the window will open for a liberal negotiation. This will be an adequate opportunity for all involved sides to negotiate and find better solutions for Afghanistan current conflict.

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