The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Regional cooperation for lasting peace

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President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday at the 9th Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Dushanbe, in Tajikistan, that a stable Afghanistan is in the interest of all countries in the region. He also said Afghans have been deprived of right to peace for 42 years. “We want peace because today peace is not just a wish for our people but a necessity. We and our partners are looking for a solution and peace,” the president said. President Ghani also said that a regional consensus on this issue is vital to Afghans
and said he hopes Tuesday’s Heart of Asia Conference will bring an end to the ongoing war in Afghanistan. President Ghani also said that transfer of power to another president in Afghanistan must be done in accordance with the Constitution. “The Taliban must call a ceasefire and the international community must monitor the ceasefire,” he said, adding that instead of war the Taliban must put their legitimate demands on the table. Indeed, the active role of the United Nations and regional stakeholders, including Russia, Central Asian Countries, Pakistan and Iran, in the Afghan peace process will carry increasing significance. Formation of regional and international consensus is highly crucial. The recent Heart of Asia-Istanbul process meeting and participated countries’ call for lasting peace appear to add momentum to the peace process. Afghans are still having doubt if regional stakeholders, including Pakistan, will put its weight behind the peace process sincerely and exert pressure on the Taliban leadership to exercise goodwill in the talks and stop killing the people. On the other hand, it is believed that the Moscow conference, the ‘Heart of Asia Conference’ in Dushanbe under the ‘Istanbul Process’ on Afghanistan and subsequent events related to inter and intra-Afghan dialogue may not yield positive results unless a multi-stakeholder approach is applied sincerely by the concerned parties. To put it succinctly, unless the Taliban reduce violence, efforts made outside and inside the country for peace process are unlikely to yield positive results. Therefore, regional countries, mainly Pakistan should do more to persuade the group for ceasefire and negotiating with Afghan government. If the Taliban reduce violence, the ground for lasting peace will be prepared and a sense of hope and trust will be created in public atmosphere. Hence, the regional and global stakeholders have to pressure the Taliban to reduce violence. Earlier, the Taliban said that they discussed a 90-day reduction in violence with the United States, which yet to be agreed on. It indicates that the Taliban will agree to reduce violence, which will be a good move if they do not seek greater concessions in return. Afghans have persistently called on the Taliban group to declare ceasefire, which is also still on the top agenda of the
republic negotiating team. Now it is the time that the regional and global stakeholders have to pressure the
Taliban to reduce violence and start the Doha talks soon. The regional and international community shouldn’t limit their efforts with issuing declarations and supporting democratic values only through their statement, but they should give assurance that the Taliban will adhere to the deal, once it is signed between the Taliban and the Afghan government and that the group would never undermine the achievements made so far in the country. As peace in Afghanistan means peace in the region and instability in the country would destabilize the whole region.

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.