PESHAWAR: In house discussion on Afghanistan’s Emerging Scenario and Implications for Pakistan held at Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar. The Director Prof Shabir Ahmad Khan welcomed the participants including General R. Asad Durrani, Ambassador R. Asif Durrani, Prof Azamat Hayat Khan, Brig R. Saad Mohammad, Col. Ishfaq, Col. Fazle Wahid, Arshad Khan Secretary Information to KP government and Prof Hussain Shaheed Soharwardi. Most of the participants were of the view that Afghanistan is already heading towards a civil war as Afghan Taliban and Incumbent Kabul Regime are fighting.
The participants claimed that militias are emerging however they may change side if Taliban over ran Kabul. Some of the participants argued that Taliban may take over Kabul easily while some argued that taking over Kabul will be a hard task for Taliban as Afghan National Army is well equipped and trained. Ashraf Ghani government has the advantage of having international recognition and legitimacy while for Taliban earning international recognition and legitimacy will be a great challenge. Pakistan must pursue a policy of neutrality towards all the groups in Afghanistan and should develop contacts with all of them.
Pakistan needs to coordinate its policies with the immediate neighbors of Afghanistan to counter agenda of spoilers and to pave way for power sharing agreement. All neighbors of Afghanistan must push Taliban diplomatically towards a negotiated settlement rather than fighting for taking over Kabul by force.
Lack of power sharing agreement will result in a long war between Taliban and Kabul regime. Pakistan also need to enhance strict border management as a flux of refugees are expected in the emerging situation in Afghanistan. Anti-Pakistan forces/militias are in making in Afghanistan funded by India. Afghans have their own ways of thinking and Pakistan or any other country cannot control or dictate to them. Neither any country should try this. China as a next door neighbor of Afghanistan has a game changing role in Afghanistan. China has restrained from Afghan war during the last 20 years, it has developed relations with Kabul regime and Afghan Taliban while also have good relations with all neighbors of Afghanistan.
China as a contingency plan may convene a meeting of foreign ministers of the neighbors of Afghanistan in order to capitalize on their ethnic and political influence and persuade different Afghan groups to reach a consensus on power sharing. This multilateral approach needed as peace and stability in Afghanistan is a shared responsibility.
Pakistan has adopted a correct path to be partner in peace rather indulging in any zero sum game. Pakistan must refuse basis to America while similarly must deny basis to Taliban also. This will place Pakistan in best position to ask Afghanistan to eliminate basis of TTP and other anti-Pakistan forces.