Chief of Army of Staff, General Qamar JavedBajwa in his visit of Kabul, held one-on-one meeting with Afghan President Asraf Ghani and engaged in a delegation level discussion on issues of bilateral interest. He also met with Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and commander US forces Jhon Nicholson. In meetings with Afghan leadership various issues came under discussion between both sides including on going efforts of reconciliation in Afghanistan, measures needed to check the rise of militant Islamic State (IS) group and terrorist outfits benefiting from the porous Pak-Afghan border to indulge in terrorism, smuggling and drug trafficking.
Afghan President had announced that police and army troops will halt hostilities with Taliban for eight days from June 12to 19. But he warned that operation against other insurgent groups including IS will continue. Reciprocating the afghan government temporary ceasefire initiative, Talban has put on hold their fighting campaign during three days of Eid-ul-Fitr. These developments have raised the optimism about building of trust between the Afghan government and Taliban.
Pakistan has remained actively engaged in all peace initiatives. It actively participated in tripartite jump-start conference with China and Russia that was held in Moscow in December, 2016. It attended the follow up regional peace initiative in which Afghanistan and India also participated in February 2017. Pakistan participated in the a12 party international peace conference hosted by Russia in Moscow in April, 2017. The United States was invited to that conference but it skipped that important moot for peace in this region.
To further buttress the diplomatic efforts for restoring peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan remained engaged in trilateral talks held in Beijing to explore ways and means for ending the prolonged Afghan War. It is believed that Pakistan and China has played a crucial rule for the temporary ceasefire between the afghan government and Taliban. It is now for the United States to earnestly contribute to efforts made for peace and stability in Afghanistan with a view to bring all stakeholders to the negotiation table for a political settlement of this issue.
There is change of perception in the United States about the threat of terrorists groups to peace in the world. The emergence of triangular cold war between the United States, Russia and China has pushed the fight against the menace of global terrorism to the backburner in Washington. Pentagon now officially says the long war against international terrorism is drawing to close. It argues that US must bolster its competitive military advantage relative to the threats posed by China and Russia. In their assessment inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism is now the primary concern in the US national security. It concludes the US dominated global order today is challenged not by Al-Qaeda and IS but aggressive behavour of China and Russia.
A permanent campaign to contain China and Russia has been started by the US in Eurasia and its military has committed itself to a three front geo-political strategy to resist Chinese and Russian advances in Asia, Europe and Middle East. This reveals the US plan of a long term presence in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban has visualized this scenario. The Taliban Chief Mullah Akhunzada has reiterated his demand for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan what he called a permanent solution for getting out of Afghan quagmire. It is time the US must play a leading role in the resolution of Afghan conflict instead of becoming part of the problem.