PESHAWAR: An in-house discussion was held at Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar on Monday regarding the prospects of Peace in Afghanistan and the role of Pakistan and other regional partners. Ambassador Rustam Shah Momand, General Asad Durraini, Prof Azmat Hayat Khan, Brig Saad, Prof Adnan Sarwar, Prof Hussain Shaheed Soharwardi and Prof Shabir Ahmad Khan participated.
Rustam Shah Momand said that the continuous war and instability has been resulting in the deaths of Childs, women, youths and old, drug addiction has been increasing and children are being sold for money and acute poverty prevailed. People have been tired of war and many are waiting to change sides on the end of this incumbent government.
Ashraf Ghani is an American citizen and least interested in any interim setup therefore the big hurdle to peace in the country. Taliban have been matured and entirely changed, balanced in contrast to the 1990s. Taliban believe that they will need regional and extra-regional financial and diplomatic support to reconstruct Afghanistan and therefore have been more accommodating.
There are limitations to Taliban power also however ceasefire has been considered detrimental to their cause by Taliban, he added. Ceasefire can be announced with the setup of interim government simultaneously. He opined that interim setup can be legitimized through Loya Jirga Sacrosanct Afghan institution which can create a government. In regional approach, China is desperate for peace in Afghanistan to further its regional global integration through BRI and China will play a dominant role in the peace and development of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan will also need to work closely with China for its socio-economic development. Whether some states like it or not China will become most dominant power in Afghanistan as it is un-escapable reality and it is destiny of Afghanistan and the region. The European allies also need to recognize this reality and persuade America in this context.
He further said that Taliban have no trans-border agenda and therefore have earned regional support however they need to transform their movement into a political force with a manifesto and agenda. Taliban have been in contact nationally and regionally.
Rustam Shah Momand added that Taliban may agree to an extended USA’s withdrawal from 3 to 6 months to reach a consensus. An interim setup is the only way forward towards peace. Ultimately Taliban will insist to meet the deadlines as per agreement whatever circumstances emerge.
USA has limited options and seems serious in with drawl but at the same time making ground for a responsible withdrawal. Both the parties need to be pressurized to make compromises and reach an agreement on new setup the USA may ultimately draw a red line to the incumbent Afghan government in this regard.
General Asad Durrani said that India has no role in Afghanistan. Importantly Taliban remained intact and they have been matured and are capable to bring peace to Afghanistan. He also supported the idea of interim setup as a way forward. Prof Azmat Hayat Khan said that the conditions in Afghanistan are going from bad to worse. Afghanistan will remain dependent on Pakistan in almost all walks of life.
Afghans have been achieving best medical facilities in Peshawar. Regarding ceasefire he said that it will be tantamount to split Taliban as ground operational forces may not agree to ceasefire without forming interim setup and therefore also supported the idea of interim setup. Prof Shabir Ahmad Khan, Director Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar said that working towards peace and development of Afghanistan is a shared regional responsibility and the immediate neighbors of Afghanistan have to make coordinated efforts to help Afghan peace process.
The USA-Taliban deal is silent on intra-Afghan violence and it is important to address this issue regionally. He added that Afghans throughout their history have sought foreign assistance to resolve their internal issues and therefore the peace implementation need to be mediated and supervised regionally.