Peaceful Afghanistan key to regional stability, connectivity

The ‘Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process Conference is a unique forum for promoting a regional consensus on peace and stability in the region, focusing on helping the peace process in Afghanistan. There is potential capacity with the regional politics to help peace and stability in the region and Afghanistan.
Addressing the 8th Conference of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process here in Turkey on Monday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said that despite 40 years of on-going conflict, the national mood in Afghanistan is one of increasing optimism regarding the country’s future, adding the key to sustaining the optimism, containing the threats and managing the risks lies in continuing the agenda of national reform and anti-corruption and regional connectivity and international cooperation.
“As the name says, this is a process, one that we must urgently and actively continue for our shared interests. Over the past five years, our combined efforts have shown that regional connectivity meets the test of desirability, feasibility and credibility, thereby beneficial to us all.”
President Ghani said after the 9/11 incident, a consensus for stable and democratic Afghanistan came into being and today was time to renew the consensus. “We the people of Afghanistan want to become a platform for regional cooperation and connectivity not a platform for short term interest and proxy conflicts.”
Indeed, there is a common understanding among a majority of the regional players and world powers about the need for improving stability and security in the region and particularly in Afghanistan. Whether the regional conference held in Istanbul will result to a concrete action for promoting stability in the region and supporting the peace process in Afghanistan or not depends on participated countries, in particular that of Pakistan’s firm determination to seek a regional cooperation over peace and stability in the region.
Afghanistan and the regional countries having remarkable shared understanding of what is needed for improving security in both countries and ending the conflict in Afghanistan. What the regional countries also need is to seek a common ground on the future of the Taliban and other militant groups and their integration with the political process in the country.
As the conflict of Afghanistan has multiple causes, it requires all the participants, especially the regional actors, to attend such conferences with a clear vision and commitment to ensure Peace and security in Afghanistan. Such an approach not only creates synergy among the regional countries but reinforce the international commitment to the Peace Process in Afghanistan. 
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process and other process initiated by the Afghan government are indeed the unique opportunity for the country to project its peace vision to the regional, cross regional and international actors. Afghanistan has time and again explained the massage of a stable Afghanistan leads to a stable region that can enjoy peace and partnership in economic and security areas in such gathering.
Such a vision can ensure and mobilize the different players in the Afghan conflict to participate in this process, because it ensures the overlapping interests of the different players and envision an Afghanistan that can engage all the partners to enjoy economic and security benefits. However, it requires a strong and dynamic diplomacy and a sustainable regional, cross regional and international engagement policy and cooperation.

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