Pakistan’s desire for Afghan Peace
Russian Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov called on Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ, here on Friday. During the meeting, the Russian envoy appreciated the positive role being played by Pakistan for Afghan Peace Process and expressed that Pak-Russia relations would continue to prosper manifolds. COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa underscored that peace in both countries (Pakistan and Afghanistan) was in greater interest of the region. Both sides held in depth deliberations on matters of mutual interest, regional security situation particularly developments in Afghan Peace Process during the meeting.
Commander US CENT-COM General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. called on Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa here at GHQ. The Commander SCENTCOM and visiting dignitaries acknowledged Pakistan’s commendable efforts in the fight against terrorism and ensuring regional stability. Matters of mutual interest, regional security situation with reference to ongoing Afghanistan reconciliation process were discussed during the meeting. Both sides expressed unanimity of views on importance of political resolution of Afghan situation.
The envoys of both superpowers United States and Russia came to Pakistan, while carrying baggage of Afghan Reconciliation Process, which is in a deadlock since more than a month. Both parties are stick to their viewpoints and negotiations are not getting out of this stalemate so far.
Pakistan is the key facilitator of Afghanistan Reconciliation Process initiated by the United States government three years back. Due to Pakistan’s active support, the famous Doha agreement between Trump administration and Taliban was concluded in February 2019. Pakistan has played its due role by helping, motivating, and coordinating efforts to bring the parties at negotiating table for on going intra-Afghan Peace Negotiations. Both Parties had made progress on rules and procedures of the talks however, during the second phase of the talks, the warring Afghan parties got stalemate on technical issues related to key aspects of national reconciliation such as the future political system of the country, lasting ceasefire and kind of political arrangement during transition period.
The contradicting issues are interim government, cease fire and future of foreign troops in the Country. The Taliban demanded the creation of an interim government for unimpeded and peace full transition of power, complete with drawl of foreign troops and ceasefire after conclusion of agreement. Whereas, Afghan government opted to continue current setup under President Ashraf Ghani during transition phase, rather President Ghani orated that he would complete his five years term in office. President Ghani and his team also struggling for retaining a significant portion of foreign troops in the country, to nail the Taliban in post settlement era. As United States had concluded agreement to withdraw US troops by May 2021. Ghani got success in getting the NATO on board with him to stay in Afghanistan beyond May 2021.
Pakistan is continuously engaged in its outreach efforts to different stakeholders of the dispute. Pakistan has been advocating for an Afghan led and Afghan owned inclusive peace process to achieve peace and stability in the country. Because, there are huge financial, peace and security dividends for Pakistan attached to a peaceful and stabile Afghanistan. Therefore, Pakistan is the second major beneficiary of the peace in Afghanistan.
In fact, the present stalemate is due to intolerant behavior of Afghan negotiating parties, both sides must display flexibility in their behavior to reach a win win solution. Pakistan being a facilitator is undertaking utmost efforts to break the ice and move the process toward its destiny, however, all stakeholders must show their sincerity to the common objective of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.