National, int’l consensus key to lasting peace in Afghanistan

The US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has confirmed on Thursday to media in NATO headquarters, that it has negotiated a “seven-day reduction in violence” proposal with the Taliban to move toward a political settlement to the war in Afghanistan, insisting “seven days, for now, could be sufficient” time to determine whether the insurgent group is serious in seeking a negotiated end to the war, America’s longest.
“We are taking a hard look at it. We are consulting with our allies. We are consulting with Congress and others, and I think peace deserves a chance. But it will demand that all parties comply with their obligations if we move forward,” he stressed.  
Separately, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on the way to a security conference in Munich the U.S.-Taliban talks have made “real progress” in recent days, and he hoped a serious reduction in violence would stem from it.
But, despite ongoing peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, the bloody conflict in Afghanistan continues to take a heavy toll on the country’s people. Afghan people, both the combatant and non-combatant sill bearing the brunt of war and giving sacrifices in war on terror.
The word ‘Peace’ has remained a hot topic for discussion in Afghanistan in recent years. So far many charming sentences were written, statements delivered, enhancement activities and seminars held, textbooks printed, many resources have been invested on peace building which included the establishment of High Peace Council and even the State Ministry for Peace Affairs. Every single Afghans, wishes durable peace in the country.
There is a national consensus for peace in the country and the government leaders spared no efforts to establish regional and global consensus for Afghan peace process too, that positively resulted and many regional conference held to seek political settlement for ending conflict in the country. Even the US and the Afghanistan neighbors have now mutual understanding and coordination to achieve the long-awaited peace.
But what is really important for durable peace in the war-torn country is a credible settlement in Afghanistan that requires to identify the root causes of conflicts in Afghanistan. At the same time, a viable solution needs Afghan men and women from all sectors of society, the government, private enterprise, tribal leaders and activists should be included in the process to work towards a consensus on peace to ensure that concerns of all parties are considered in the peace process.
The government leaders believe that a peace deal based on the inclusion and consensus of all Afghans may be time consuming but would be a sustainable deal that can benefit Afghanistan, the region and beyond.
If regional stakeholders are concerned about Afghanistan’s security issue and seek to support the Afghan peace process, they have to take more practical steps. That is, it is time for regional actors to stop void promises and aimless talks and use their leverage and power to end the conflict. The national and international consensus is key to ensuring lasting peace in the country and if the negotiation sides fail to establish such consensus, then the peace talks would bear no positive result and the country would continue to face bloodshed.

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