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December 16, 2018
The Kabul Times
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Afghan-owned nature of peace process should be acknowledged

The peace negotiation has been a highly controversial issue within the last decade. Afghanistan and its allies have invariably urged the Taliban outfit to stop violence and bloodshed, which will benefit no parties. However, violence continued and took immense casualties in thousands of lives. The protracted war lingered with a lull and surge.
Despite of establishment of the High Peace Council (HPC) in 2010 with a view to bringing the Taliban to negotiating table, Kabul government also urged Pakistan and other regional countries to use their leverage to nudge the Taliban to peace table. But despite of holding many peace talks in Islamabad between the Taliban and Afghan government, including that of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) comprising of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the US was established, the peace process could not succeed, and the militancy increased against the Afghan nation.
On Friday, Russia pledged to use its diplomatic muscle to help spur peace efforts in Afghanistan after hosting Afghan envoys and their Taliban foes — a meeting that Moscow also used to showcase its drive to reassert influence in the region, particularly on Afghan peace process.
Sitting between Afghan High Peace Council representatives and their Taliban rivals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov played the roles of mediator and experienced hand in Afghanistan’s conflicts.
Meanwhile, the US Special Envoy for Afghan Peace Process Zalmai Khalilzad has also discussed peace process with President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani here on Sunday. Khalilzad briefed the president on future plans and programs regarding his second round of trip to regional countries.The envoy said that he would share the outcome of his visits with the president after they concluded.
Since its establishment, the national unity government tried to involve all the regional and major world powers in peace affairs of Afghanistan, in a move to convince Taliban and their masters to shun violence and join peaceful life with their Afghan fellows.
Based on President’s expressions, to effectively confront threats of terrorism and extremism, it is essential that the region take away the platform inside Afghanistan that the Taliban provides to transnational terrorist and criminal networks.
Therefore, the international community’s cooperation is vital for boosting the peace process. Meanwhile regional powers, especially Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors, have influence over the Taliban, they can convince the Taliban leaders to sit down with the government of Afghanistan to reach an agreement on ending the war in their country.
The Central Asia countries and Afghanistan are united by a shared history, culture and geography. They have an enormous potential for jointly tackling regional threats, increasing trade and connectivity. Recent talks in Uzbekistan and Russia, readiness of Turkmenistan for hosting the Peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban indeed give appropriate prominence to Afghanistan’s neighbors and partners, as well as countries that have also supported the post-2001 political order and reconstruction effort.
It is important that the region should acknowledge the Afghan-owned nature of the peace process and commit to accepting the agreement reached between the Taliban and the government.