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Editorial

Regional countries sincere support crucial for Afghan peace process

Afghan officials have constantly reiterated that regional stakeholders carry heavy weight in Afghanistan’s peace process and could nudge the Taliban to come to the table with the Afghan government and declare a lasting ceasefire in the war-torn country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said that the Russian Federation has expressed its strong opposition to the return of the Taliban’s regime and prefers improvement in the ongoing peace efforts.  MoFA said that Russia is not in favor of removing the Taliban leaders’ names from the UN blacklist without progress in the Afghan peace talks.
The statement came as Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar visited Moscow and met with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.  “We strongly support Russia’s position on the Afghan peace process, particularly the stance that the return of Taliban regime will not be acceptable,” Atmar said hours after his meeting with Lavrov. “We also welcome Russia’s stance on the UN sanctions on the Taliban,” Atmar added.
Indeed, Russia has leverage on the Taliban since it has hosted intra-Afghan dialogues in the past. The country has also hosted Taliban delegation recently, in a bid to bold its role in the peace process. Meanwhile, political pundits believe that hosting Taliban delegation by a number of countries would mar the peace process and bestow international credibility to the Taliban. But Moscow’s recent approach and declaration regarding the group and commitment to the peace process will be productive and the Afghan government and regional stakeholders will appreciate such an engagement.
The regional countries collective efforts will be more fruitful than those of individual. That is, if regional states open talks with the Taliban individually and without consultation with the Afghan government, it will not bear the desired result and the situation will be rather complicated.
Therefore, regional stakeholders have to continue their collective efforts to broker intra-Afghan dialogue and support the relevant parties to end the conflict. The collective efforts of regional and global states, including the US, Russia, China, Germany, Pakistan, and Qatar, and other regional countries are highly significant. The more countries put their weight behind the peace process through peace talks. Since a peaceful and stable Afghanistan will be in the interests of the region, regional states have to engage constructively in the process.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government and political factions have to form an inclusive national consensus. Heads of political parties and jihadi leaders have to support the government’s stance on peace talks.
Hence, selective approach, as some Afghan politicians have adopted towards peace talks will neither lead to peace be acceptable to Afghan nation. If political figures really pursue national interests, they have to stand beside the government.
To pursue fruitful peace process, forming regional and national consensus is highly essential. Regional and global stakeholders have to push for intra-Afghan dialogue as well as end of conflict. Both the Afghan government and the Taliban have to hold direct talks to resolve their issues and end Afghan people’s sufferings before it is too late.

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