A dream for Afghans: Peace

February 29, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Shakeel Haider

Peace in Afghanistan is an old dream, much as its history. Tumultuous circumstances have remained present in Afghanistan for ages but after the Russia-Afghan war and American invasion following 9/11, matters have been made worse.

The Afghan government has for a number of years been pursuing peace with the help of stakeholders. Now the task for negotiations is with Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and America.

Afghanistan is dejected, America is fed up, China is moving at its own pace towards economic goals and landmarks while Pakistan is too absorbed in dual policy that the peace process doesn’t seem popular or successful, as highlighted by Afghan affairs experts. Apparently, perspectives regarding Afghanistan vary between China, America and Pakistan. The Chinese think it as a civil war and solutions are based around the same lines just as some British and American analyses which term this a Tribal war. Pakistan thinks that the great game is on and the Pashtun population is being sidelined and that India is actively playing its role regarding this.

Afghanistan thinks that the present civil war and strife is due to neighboring Pakistan which wants its own hegemony in the region. In Afghanistan, there is classification of Taliban, Indigenous or patriot Afghan Taliban and Pakistan backed Tehrik e Taliban (TTP). To Afghans, problems are caused and strengthened by Pakistani Taliban as Afghan Taliban never took responsibility for their acts and deeds. The non Pashto speaking Afghan population, which occupies central and north Afghanistan, seldom supports the Taliban of any kind. However, Kabul is a Pashtun dominant city where Taliban sympathies are never low and weak.

The Afghan leadership tried various peace mechanisms. Initially they resorted to force with the help of US and allied forces. Later, peace talks and dialogue appeared as a solution when all efforts failed. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai even said “Taliban are our frustrated brethren,” while current Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghanni terms the Taliban his “Political opponents.” In his last State of the Union address in January 2016, President Barak Obama said that “Instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world including Pakistan and Afghanistan.” Political and security experts are pointing towards the mistrust and noncooperation existing between Pakistan and Afghanistan and above all play by the Pakistani Armed establishment which is supporting Taliban factions to pressurise Afghanistan. In other words, destabilization in Afghanistan will have impact in Pakistan.

The “Belt and road initiative” by China in Eurasia has its own dynamics, demands and repercussions. Peace and stability in the entire region are the sole and strong guarantee for its success. On its part, China is coping with Islamic terrorism in its Muslim Dominant province Xinjiang (Sinkiang). So far, the Chinese are very strict regarding handling extremists within Chinese soil and wherever their footprints go even in the neighbor’s courtyard. China has strongly backed Pakistan’s initiative against the Taliban and extremists called “Operation Zarb e Azab” since 2014.

Iran is another neighbor of Afghanistan but it is out of all peace processes. “I don’t know at what stage Iran would be invited to join the group of facilitators, it may happen later but they can play a useful role in Afghan peace process,” said Rahim Ullah Yusufzai, a leading Pakistani analyst on Afghanistan affairs. Meanwhile the Russians quit the peace process recently as they were cooperating with Americans regardless of all odds in Syria and Middle East. “We won’t join the useless events, we have already told the Americans” said President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Afghanistan Zamir N. Kabulov. To counter terrorism, the Russians are taking the initiative in equipping and training Tajik security organizations to stop Islamic terrorism near Russian soil. Secondly, Russia is directly negotiating with the Taliban which is confirmed by both Russians and Taliban.

Once, a peaceful and political solution for Afghanistan was proposed by the United Nations in January 1980. Thirty six years later that resolve is still a dream as ways to achieve that goal are hard and difficult. Civil war, religious extremism, mass migration, destabilization policy of neighbors, social turmoil, political vacuum, insurgency, suicide bombing, poverty, drug trafficking and above all mistrust make a word called Afghanistan. Millions of Afghans are living around the Globe as refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, dreaming of peace in their homeland. World powers sat back calmly and watched Syria sink and after four years stood up when Syria’s problem bounced back. Afghans have no more energy to even copy the Syrians, except fleeing Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shakeel Haider

Shakeel is a Freelance Writer, originally from Pakistan, with a keen interest in Politics, Culture, Social issues, Environment , Human Rights and Television Broadcasting.

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