The Kabul Times.
Editorial

Pakistan needs to shape clear position on Afghan peace process

The Afghan peace process, which is being facilitated by various regional states, has once again hit a roadblock with the Taliban refusing to hold direct peace talks with the Afghan government. meanwhile Pakistan is once again fishing from troubled waters of Afghanistan to position itself as a player in the war-torn country and extending open and secret supports to Taliban militants.
Addressing an event on issuing high state medals for police and NDS personnel here at the presidential palace on Sunday, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said: “Today is a day of decision for Pakistan. If our country is in turmoil, its country will also be in turmoil and if they wants our welfare, it will also provides welfare.”
“The choice of friendship and enmity is in its court and in the case of friendship, Afghanistan is ready to cooperate with Pakistan in increasing cooperation between the countries of the region and the world,” the president said.
The president also said that for the first time in decades, a real opportunity for peace has presented itself and that Afghanistan is well prepared for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
“We are fully prepared to defend our soil and it is time for Afghanistan’s national sovereignty to be fully realized and for Afghanistan to prove its neutrality,” President Ghani said. “One is the republican ranks and the other is the enemy. Those who do not stand in the republican ranks have no place in the state,” he added.
Indeed, if Pakistan is keen to support efforts aimed at a permanent peace in Afghanistan, it should expert pressure on Taliban to give up violence and join talks with the Afghan government instead of merely seeking to extend its influence in Afghanistan.
By openly admitting that the Taliban’s families live in the country, Pakistan has time and again officially acknowledged what has already been known: that the group enjoys state-level support in Pakistan. Moreover, it has further confirmed that Pakistan has been following a ‘good’ Taliban (non-state actors which do not target Pakistan’s interests) and ‘bad’ Taliban (non-state actors which target Pakistan interests in any way) policy.
Meanwhile, Taliban is under no pressure to join any peace process. considering the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban fighters could increase violence, as their leaders and families are enjoying safe havens and life in the neighboring country.
As president said earlier, Taliban is required to show their sincere will for peace and war in the country. Although their leaders have been declaring supports to Afghanistan stability, but no practical steps taken so far, rather the neighboring country’s military wing logistically supporting the militants and even recruiting fighters for them.
Afghans are fed up with Pakistan interferences and the country’s double game and policies. Since last four decades, the neighboring country has spared no effort to fuel tensions and destabilize the country, since they believe that a stable and prosperous Afghanistan would threaten their interests.
But make no mistake: the stability of the region depends on the outcome of Afghan peace process and Pakistan needs to take a clear position on it.

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The Kabul Times.