Bringing Together Pieces of Peace in Afghanistan - Pak Afghan Youth Forum PAYF

Several events have transpired on the Afghan Peace Process front, that warrants a more in-depth look. While diplomatic support from regional countries continues to build for the peace process, the Afghan Government and Taliban are currently engaged in violent offensives against each other. And in the resultant chaos, regional spoilers have surfaced to reduce the chances of peace in Afghanistan.  

Pieces of Peace

In spite of this, Afghans continue to hope for a peaceful and prosperous future. In a recent interview, the Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was hopeful for the return of peace. President Ashraf Ghani also penned his message of peace in an article in Foreign Affairs. Both of them have made clear, that the withdrawal of forces offers a rare opportunity to reconcile differences and devise a political solution to the ongoing conflict. 

A recent statement, from the Taliban’s Chief Negotiator, Masoom Stanekzai said that the “Taliban have no intention for a military takeover.” Similarly, a press release shared by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy for Peace in Afghanistan, also highlighted regional consensus (gathered from visits in Kabul, Doha, Tashkent, and Dushanbe), for support of a political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan. 

However, while all parties hope to see a peaceful Afghanistan, the difference arises in their understandings of peace. And these varied understandings have allowed regional spoilers to use the occasion to their benefit, to hurt Afghanistan. The confusion and the speculation have already resulted in massive tragedies, in Helmand and Kabul. 

Attacks in The Past Week

The attack in Kabul is a recent addition to the many atrocities being committed against the peace-loving Afghans. The past week has shown a glimpse of what the post-withdrawal scenario for Afghanistan could look like if a political settlement is not pursued. The Helmand Airstrike, is also another example from just the past week, that resulted in several civilian deaths. According, to one report, the past week has seen 63 civilian casualties.  

One other thing that runs common through all the statements, is that while all parties have claimed to want peace, neither of them have renounced resorting to violence. In his statement, Khalilzad gave a clear warning, that “republic political unity is a must”, and the US will “stand with” the Afghans who support the republic. President Ghani, in his article, also relayed the need for foreign aid to support the Afghan National Defense & Security Forces.  

Clarifying Pakistan’s Role in Afghanistan

Amidst all the varying notions of peace, there comes a need to reconcile these differences. Pakistan has been playing its part in the Peace Process quite responsibly. By firstly advocating for a ceasefire, and reduction in violence at the extended troika meeting in Doha.  

Most recently, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, on a visit to Saudi Arabia, discussed the ongoing Afghan Peace Process with Saudi leadership. Pakistan also continues to offer support to Afghanistan, in education, trade, and security. The recent finalization of a draft for the Afghan-Pakistan Trade & Transit Agreement (APTTA) is also evidence of Pakistan’s confidence in Afghanistan, and its unrelenting support for the Afghan people. 

Pakistan’s Prerogative for Peace in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prerogative has been to help improve cooperation, in all areas. In a recent Webinar conducted by PAYF, the need for security cooperation to help counter the threat of terrorism was also discussed. Particularly the threat posed by ISKP, and the other regional parties involved in financing such terrorist groups. Additionally, a high-level visit of security officials has also been scheduled, to further this agenda.  

As should be the case, the protection of precious Afghan lives should be a priority for all parties. The current offensives between the government and the Taliban, are providing cover for the regional spoilers. It also undermines the importance of building a collaborative effort, between a united Afghanistan and Pakistan, to counter these threats. 


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