The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process aims to promote regional cooperation by engaging different countries and organizations. The process seeks result oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, as well as a secure and prosperous region.
The process has 15 member countries, including China, Russia, Turkey, India, and Pakistan. The process also has 17 supporting member countries including the United States, Canada, the U.K., and 12 international and regional organizations, including the UN, SCO, SAARC, OIC, and NATO.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani arrived in Dushanbe, Tajikistan early Monday for the two-day 9th ministerial Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) conference. According to the Presidential Palace (ARG), President Ghani will address the event and would discuss expanding of cooperation and relations between the two countries with Tajik officials.
Foreign Ministers and representatives from around 50 countries are expected to attend the two-day summit, where ways to strengthen regional consensus for peace and development in Afghanistan will be discussed. According to MoFA, Afghanistan, will with strength and a clear message, attend the meeting and would reiterate [calls for a] ceasefire and reduction in violence.
At this crucial time where an important peace meeting is expected to be held in Turkey about Afghanistan future, the process provides another golden opportunity to find viable solutions to the manifold problems countries in this region have been facing, including the rise of terrorism, extremism, and insecurity.
For Afghanistan in particular, the conference means a lot. It is one of the prestigious political platforms that is being led by Afghanistan and includes all the stakeholders that are involved in the Afghan conflict in one way or another.
Similarly, the process is important for the region. A secure and peaceful Afghanistan with all institutions fully functioning will be a source of strength for all of Asia in general and South and Central Asia in particular. Peace in Afghanistan would lead to peace, safety, and tranquility across the Asia continent while persistent instability in Afghanistan would keep the continent in perpetual turmoil.
Indeed, Afghanistan functions as a land bridge in the “Heart of Asia,” connecting South Asia, Central Asia, Eurasia, and the Middle East. Peace and security in Afghanistan will be vital for broader economic cooperation in the region, and instability would lead to insurgency in the whole region.
Therefore, the countries should acknowledge the demand of the Afghan people for a lasting peace and an end to war and urge all sides to reduce violence immediately, to foster an environment in which direct negotiations that include the Afghan government, the Taliban and other Afghans can begin as soon as possible.
The countries should put pressures on Taliban to commit to a ceasefire for the duration of intra-Afghan negotiations to enable participants to reach an agreement on a political roadmap for Afghanistan’s future and on a permanent cease-fire that ends the war.
Indeed, an inclusive politically negotiated settlement remains key for durable peace in Afghanistan. Therefore, the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process meeting should make sure that all intra-Afghan efforts leading to cessation of violence and durable peace in Afghanistan, including the Moscow Format Consultations, China-Russia-US trilateral consultations on Afghanistan and the China-Russia-US-Pakistan four-party meeting, Kabul Process and the continuation of the US talks with the Taliban that leads to the immediate cessation of violence and lasting peace in Afghanistan.