Why peace in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without Pakistan?
WASHINGTON: (APP) War and military operations are not effective solutions for lasting peace in Afghanistan, and US support to Afghan-led reconciliations efforts can contribute to stability in the war-torn country, according to a blog by an Afghan student studying in an American University.
The blog published in the online political magazine The Hill, supported reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan and said that Afghanistan and the United States needed Pakistan's cooperation in the reconciliation process.
The article drew attention to a resurgent Taliban and the emerging threats from ISIL offshoot, ISIL-Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP), and said that Afghan security forces were stretched thin fighting on multiple fronts.
As the new administration is taking shape under president-elect Donald Trump, the writer asked the United States to reconsider its strategy. "War and military operations are not effective solutions for long lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan. Negotiation and reconciliation, however, could bring peace."
"By supporting an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned, peace and national reconciliation process, the US can bring an end to its longest war, and contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan," the writer maintained.
While the US government has shown bipartisan determination to continue engagement in Afghanistan, the article observed that the policy lacked a long-term vision for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
"To achieve that goal, the US should work with the Afghan government and regional allies to urge the Taliban leaders to come to the negotiating table, end the insurgency, and join the peace process."
"By supporting Afghan-Taliban peace talks, the US will renew its commitment to lasting peace and security in Afghanistan. Military operations alone cannot create a lasting peace. They play a useful role only when paired with strong and constructive diplomacy.
"An Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process will bring the Taliban under Kabul's sphere of influence. It will incentivize the group to abandon its Al-Qaeda partners, and break ties with the terrorist network."
According to the writer, support to reconciliation efforts will also motivate other Afghan militants to lay their weapons and join peace negotiations. Just recently, in a historic move, Hekmatyar-led Hizb-e-Islami (Islamic Party), a radical militant group, signed a peace deal, ending its long-standing conflict with the Afghan government.
"The peace deal with the Islamic Party provides a framework for talks with the Taliban."
According to the writer, the peace process is also an essential step for regional integration. The Afghan government is collaborating with key regional actors who are equally concerned about the re-emergence of Taliban.
"Critics argue that peace talks will fail because there is no guarantee that the Taliban would end its insurgency after signing a peace deal. However, there are several ways that the Afghan government can prevent a resurgence of the Taliban."
"First, a concerted effort by the Afghan government to stop poppy cultivation and drug trafficking would cut off the Taliban's source of income and diminish its ability to mobilize, recruit and launch attacks.
"Second, the US should continue to target the remnants of al-Qaeda and other groups, particularly ISIL-Khorasan Province (ISIL-KP), so that they cannot use Afghan territory to launch attacks against the US. This will show the Taliban that there is no turning back after a peace deal.
They can either live in harmony and peace with their countrymen and women or get crushed by American airstrikes."