Afghanistan and Peace at the Door
By Bahman Daneshdost
The U.S. led process of negotiations with the Taliban fighters and agreements on opening their political office in Qatar to bring them back without a pre-planned joint strategic move with the Afghan government, have raised doubts among the people of Afghanistan. President Karzai’s last month peace talks with a high level delegation of Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan, led by former Jihadi fighter Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, creation of new political parties/fronts by the opposition groups aims to change the current Afghan political system to a parliamentary one, and the corruption cancer within all over governmental and non-governmental institutions that remained actively wild are the other factors threatening and disappointing people on their future.
U.S. and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will withdraw a vast number of their troops from the country on 2014 where the only positive achievement would be the process of security transitions, but economic fundamentals are still underground for a durable support to security forces which must be considered by the Afghan government.
Despite an overall and decades long sophisticated chaos in Afghanistan, there is also another way of fighting the crisis which may benefit both Afghanistan and the international community. Almost a large number of the Taliban faction are those dissatisfied with the government and weak enough that cannot fight without foreign support and motivations. The U.S. move to persuade a peace talk would be more remarkable if given it a chance to be Afghan-led, and in another step the opportunity of same table talks must be supported or even facilitated by the U.S. and international community to bring all Afghan people and the parties (Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami, opposition groups, civil society) together with the government for a long-awaited peace.
People in Afghanistan experienced and suffered intolerable decades of long civil war, crimes and more than 10s of trillions economical damages just for its worst geopolitical location selected as a battle ground for east/west global powers and sub beneficiaries of ethnic conflicts. All ethnicities and religious divisions are extremely tired of fighting here and any more external political motivations especially by neighboring countries are almost useless and a waste of time that is mindfully analyzed by the U.S. and its partners at the present situation.
Current political circumstances in the region justifies and demand a quick peace move in Afghanistan as the strategic conflict-creating projects by regional intelligence agencies are failing roughly. Today an insecure Afghanistan will highly affect regional countries, mostly Pakistan’s stability where thousands of Madrassas operating and among them 100s are actively generating radicalism.
When 10 suicide bombers are sent out to kill the Afghan people; mostly, happened that at least one from such radical training centers exploded himself up within Pakistan’s territory. So people in Pakistan must understand, they were living in peace when their government and the ISI had not supported permanent terrorism sanctuaries in their soil. Moreover, they already started to feel the pain as Afghanistan does; political conflicts, NATO airstrikes, suicide bombings and a possible civil war.
Iran would be in the same boat if keep on playing Pakistan’s failed card in the region especially with Afghanistan, at the time when pressures and more sanctions are growing up for its nuclear programs. Thus, Iran’s people would better think twice about neighboring countries. A peaceful Afghanistan may not only support their sanctioned economy for more exports, but also the country is pretty good for hospitality in case of an attack to neighbors; additionally, Afghanistan can be too generous if come up with a decision on its still free waters to the neighboring countries.
At this point, the top beneficiary of a real peace in Afghanistan would be the entire world, billions of dollars expended and 1000s of Americans, ISAF soldiers and civilians died for this war whereas Al-Qaeda have lost control over its groups after Osama bin Laden is killed by CIA in Pakistan.
Mutual cooperation strategic pacts between Kabul and Washington, London, Paris including regional political players would be another positive move towards peace. Accordingly, Afghanistan’s security as a single calm country in the region matters for the west while Pakistan is insecure by Haqqani fighters and outnumbered insurgency groups approaching to its nuclear sites; besides, the world pressures on Iran is mounting that may followed by an attack if the issue in not resolved through diplomacy, Obama’s remarks in his 2012 state of the union speech, “Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.”, clearly illustrates tensions and the coming future for Iran.
Hence, the Afghan people are facing one more chance for peace at the door; it is time to remember the past experiences and the war history for which we have got nothing. Fighting and seeking for the glory of the power by a single ethnic or an ideological division will never end to peace; therefore, a nationwide Afghan-led peace talk supported by the international community would be much desirable.
Bahman Daneshdost is graduate of Kabul University and a freelance writer living in Afghanistan.