Editorial

Regional countries’ firm commitments a must for peace in Afghanistan

Eyes are fixed on reconciliation council led by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to finalize the delegation for peace talks with Taliban as well as on the upcoming Qatar talks between the group leadership and representatives of the U.S. government, led by seasoned diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad.
Optimists have sound justifications to welcome these numerous rounds of talks and celebrate their prospects. Taliban have never talked as softly of peace as they are speaking now; the U.S. administration is expressing an unprecedented hopefulness; Pakistan is coming out with oft-repeated statements of sincere hope to see a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Even the Afghan government, which may be uneasy, continues to wait and see what will unfold in the days ahead.
But the changing geostrategic and geopolitical situation demands more proactive roles from regional countries to secure their interests in a stable Afghanistan after. Depending on their stakes in both war and peace, neighbors and regional powers can be expected to be either facilitators or spoilers of the peace process.
Since Khalilzad is engaged with an intra-Afghan dialogue besides holding talks with the Taliban representatives to pave way for lasting peace in Afghanistan, one key area of focus must be a firm commitment by Afghanistan’s neighbors and regional players to keep their noses out of the country. Without that pledge, Afghanistan will run the risk of plunging into another conflict even if the Taliban agree to join the government.
Continuing his efforts to ease intra-Afghan dialogue for lasting peace in the war-torn country, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Process discussed the role of regional players in Afghan peace process with the leadership of Uzbekistan the other day. Khalilzad during trip to Tashkent held meetings with the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Foreign Minister Kamilov.
In tweet, the US envoy said: “We discussed critical role region plays in achieving & sustaining peace, and in accelerated regional integration afterwards.” Khalilzad thanked the support offered by the leadership of Uzbekistan and willingness to host intra-Afghan dialogue in the future.
Afghanistan along with its neighbors can form a cooperation that can not only support the country but the region as well. Some of the basic problems in Afghanistan are similar to those in the neighboring countries; therefore, proper collaboration can really assist them in resolving those problems. Moreover, Afghanistan has yet to make a lot of improvements and developments in the near future so as to become stable socially, politically and economically.
So as to develop the country, a great acceleration in economic activities and political improvements would be required and with the assistance of the neighbors, the task would not be very difficult to accomplish.
Meanwhile, terrorism remains the biggest “collective” challenge in the region and as a frontline state, Afghanistan bears the bulk of the burden in the fight against terrorism and extremism. 
Achieving sustainable peace in Afghanistan is complicated, which needs national, regional and global consensus coupled with pushing Taliban for talks or defeating them, in the battlefield and employing a sustainable working multi-dimensional foreign policy.

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