Struggle for peace

 
October 21, 2020

Special Envoy to Afghanistan for the Trump administration Zalmay Khalilzad has warned that continued unrest and violence in Afghanistan could endanger the agreement reached some weeks ago, during...

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Special Envoy to Afghanistan for the Trump administration Zalmay Khalilzad has warned that continued unrest and violence in Afghanistan could endanger the agreement reached some weeks ago, during talks between the Taliban and Afghanistan government. The latest problems arose after Taliban attacks in the Helmand province in the south of Afghanistan, which has been a Taliban stronghold for many years. Khalilzad has warned that any deviation from agreement reached could endanger peace, and throw the entire region into yet more chaos and yet further fighting. The Taliban have meanwhile said that any attack in Afghanistan will be the responsibility of the US and will not be accepted.

Things then do not look very good. Pakistan as a bystander has already met a delegation from Afghanistan led by Dr Abdullah Abdullah and spoken to the Taliban during the peace process in Doha. However, the entire purpose of that peace process was to lead towards peace. It doesn't seem that it is too close. The fighting that Afghanistan is seeing will further weaken it and could make the government still less able to keep order in a country that has seen continuous chaos since the late 1970s. This would not be welcome. Despite the release of prisoners, as demanded by the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad has pointed out that the group is doing very little to stick to the ceasefire it had agreed to. Many had predicted that this could happen. The Taliban have not been good at keeping promises in the past, either in Afghanistan or in Pakistan. For this reason, Pakistan – seen as wielding some influence over the Taliban – had been brought into the process. But whether this will make a difference to the attitude of the group is yet to be seen. The point that all parties in Afghanistan need to understand is that peace is crucial to the people of the land. Without it, there can be no stability and no progress in a country where the human development figures are amongst the worst in the world.

Of course, instability in Afghanistan, and growing militancy in that country, also directly affects Pakistan. Pakistan then will be keeping a very close watch on everything that is going on in Afghanistan, especially since India has close ties with the Ghani government. The situation is a complicated one. In fact, it has always been complicated in Afghanistan with many countries extremely interested in developments there. And each of them playing some role in events. We must hope that the Afghan people are eventually allowed to play a role in determining their own future and finding a way to bring peace to their troubled land.



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