Afghan masses have been fluctuating between hope and fear since Taliban left the negotiating table and the regional and trans-regional countries are yet to push the group for lasting peace and ceasefire in the country.
On the surface, it seemed that regional stakeholders would put all their weight behind the Afghan peace process, but now their role is reduced. However, the main reason behind the restricted role of regional states is not clear.
Before the start of talks between the Taliban leadership and the United States, all global powers reiterated their supports for “Afghan-owned” and “Afghan-led” talks saying that they would help and support the talks led by the Afghan government. However, the change of “Afghan-owned and led” terms – which denoted a state-centric peace talks – into “intra-Afghan” dialogue “reduce the state to a faction” and sidelined Afghanistan at the table as well as regional meetings on the country’s fate.
Considering the rapid changes in foreign countries’ policies towards peace and stability in Afghansitan, it is of immense important to maintain a strong national consensus in this regard. Afghans have been facing war and bloodshed for over four decades due to continued interferences of the foreign countries, mainly the country’s neighbors. To achieve their vicious goals, these countries spared no efforts to kill Afghans, destroy the country’s infrastructures and prevent development of the country in national and international levels.
Despite of renewed hopes for peace in the country in recent years, the Taliban continued to attack Afghan mases and denied recognizing the government of Afghanistan as a legitimate negotiating partner. The group only think to take power and once again turn the country into a backward nation in the world.
The fact is that the Taliban outfit has been highly bargaining for higher price at the table with its US interlocutors refusing any offers from the Afghan government. They are travelling to regional countries to seek support for their militancy campaign; however, they have no interest to end suffering of the Afghan people.
In practice, Taliban have clearly shown that they are not willing to retreat from its main dogmatic claims and views. They have repeatedly divulged their intentions in the battle fields and also in table of negotiations. So, the Taliban will only accept the peace if everything is submitted to them and others can have a factitious presence only if they agree with the Taliban values.
Therefore, at one side there are Taliban values and its backers and on the other side Afghan government and its supporters who claim to advocate a peace in which all the two decades achievements should be protected. Now, the most important question for the Afghan people is which peace do they want? A peace in which everything is lost and we go back to the past, or a peace in the shadow of our past achievements.
To counter Taliban and their supporters’ threats to the achievements made so far, it is very important to maintain a strong national consensus and unity. The foreign elements have time and again tried to influence the country with bringing about disunity and gap between the people and state.
The president has recently met with a number of politicians and hence trying to establish national consensus for peace in the country. Such an approach should be strengthened and continued so that to better face and strongly appear against Taliban in both battlefields and negotiating table.