Sustainable peace will not emerge in Afghanistan if the role of the states, which shared long cultural relations with the country or were engaged constructively in its issues, is disregarded. The strong regional states, neighboring countries, and global actors as well as western and eastern superpowers have role in establishing sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
Three approaches, including positive, negative, and neutral, were adopted regarding the peace agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban. Neighboring countries had played various role in Afghanistan’s conflict within the past several decades – including direct interference or neutral approach. However, Turkey proved its role as a supporter and friend of Afghan people. As time for peace has neared, the experiences, abilities, and capabilities of Turkey should be used for peace process.
This year marks the centennial anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Afghanistan. The Turkish government was officially recognized by Afghanistan through the Treaty of Alliance signed on March 1, 1921. For the last two decades, Turkey has been training the Afghan military and police officers as well as the country providing the largest development assistance in its history, mainly in the fields of education, infrastructure and health.
Recently, the Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar spoke with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuþoðlu and welcomed Turkey’s hosting of the next round of Afghan peace talks, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said in a statement on Sunday.
FM Atmar praised Turkey’s readiness to hold the next round of Afghan peace talks and said “it is expected to be a step forward in securing a ceasefire and reaching a political solution in accordance with the will of the Afghan people,” the statement said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday said the UN-led meeting on Afghan peace “is planned to be held in Istanbul in April.” “We were one of the few countries invited to this signing ceremony, and we are one of the most important actors in Afghanistan,” the Turkish minister said as quoted in a report by Anadolu Agency.
Turkey was among the states which took serious practical steps regarding peace issue in Afghanistan. Since 2007, it sought to play its role constructively about peace process in the country and, therefore, organized tens of trilateral meetings – including Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan – at different levels. It took the initiative to bring Afghanistan and Pakistan closer for peace and achieved valuable experience in this regard. Turkey is fully aware of the two sides’ demands and stances as well as the obstacles hampered Kabul and Islamabad to work in tandem for the fruition of peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Afghans believe that Pakistan supports and harbors the Taliban and exploits them against the country. The Afghan government holds this view that Taliban enjoy safe haven in Pakistan, which played a role in the Taliban’s reinforcement. On the contrary, Pakistan also continues the blame game and denies supporting the Taliban.
Therefore, it is of immense important that Turkey play a key role in the upcoming meeting and persuade Pakistan to take tangible steps for lasting peace in the country. It is undeniable that the Taliban and Pakistan do have relations as the Taliban leaders live there and many attacks against Afghanistan is organized in Taliban’s offices and centers in Pakistani soil.
Turkey has always said that has been advocating an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. In this regard, it is needed that Turkey, as a Muslim nation to feel the pains of the Afghans that have been suffering since last four decades, and truly support their Afghan brothers and contribute to efforts for achieving a sustainable peace embraced by all segments of the Afghan society and by regional and international actors.