Regional efforts and Afghan peace

During the session of 9th Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process Ministerial Conference on March 30th, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s steadfast support for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan through a political instead of a military solution to the conflict. Foreign Minister Qureshi urged for integrated approach by regional countries to help reinstate prosperity of the Afghan people. He noted that Pakistan desires peace and development in Afghanistan more than any other nation of the world.

While talking about Afghan peace process he said that the progress made so far has certainly provided a historic opportunity for the Afghan leadership to find a negotiated, inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive solution to the problem. Qureshi said that “Our message to all is to carry forward this process through good faith, solid and fruitful dialogue”. He further said that besides the historic opportunity, several challenges for the Afghan nation lied ahead and warned of the spoilers inside and outside Afghanistan.

The heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) was launched ten years back in 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey, to help find a solution to the Afghanistan conflict. The Dushanbe conference is the 9th conference of its kind and have been participated by about nineteen countries and several international organizations across the globe. As the deadline for US full withdrawal looms ahead, the efforts to get the Afghan peace dialogues on a speedy track are also running at double pace. Another Afghan Peace Conference is being held in Turkey just after two weeks in mid-April. The Foreign Minister Qureshi had warned the conference participants about the spoilers of the Afghan peace process. According to Qureshi spoilers could be from inside Afghan territory or outside the country but those whose interests are being hurt by the peace in Afghanistan are opposing the process on one or another pretext. In fact, there are some individuals, groups, and countries whose interests are best served by the bloodshed and gun battle in Afghanistan instead of peace and prosperity in the region. Pakistan had highlighted the severity of the issue time and again, however, the world and United States must take notice of the situation and nip the evil in the bud by their timely response to such attempts. Otherwise, the situation would not likely to be normalized in near future.

The HoA-IP ended up without reaching out any solid decision on pathway to the successful accomplishment of the ongoing Intra-Afghan peace negotiations, therefore now the world has set its eyes at forthcoming Afghan peace Conference in Turkey few weeks ahead. The Afghan Peace process had halted on two contentious issues, first formation of transition government and second ceasefire in the country. According to information, Taliban had signaled not to launch spring offensive to strengthen ongoing peace process whereas Ghani did not display such responsive action to reinvigorate the stalled intra-Afghan dialogues.

However, there are reports in Afghan media that President Ghani had showed some resilience on the issue of next political system and likely to proposed his own peace plan in a response to the US proposals during the forthcoming Afghan Peace Conference in Turkey. As per details, Ghani will offer to hold Presidential election before time and for that end he would suggest six months peace between the government and Taliban. However, the Taliban response to Ghani’s offer would determine the way forward for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

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The Frontier Post

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