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Thursday December 09, 2021

Speakers say Afghanistan heading towards civil war

June 25, 2021

PESHAWAR: Speakers at an in-house discussion here on Thursday said that Afghanistan was already heading towards a civil war as the Afghan Taliban and Kabul government were fighting each other and militias were emerging.

The Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar, had arranged the discussion on Afghanistan’s emerging scenario and implications for Pakistan. The participants were academicians, civil servants, former diplomats and retired military officials.

They included KP Information Secretary Arshad Khan, Prof Dr Azamat Hayat Khan, Prof Hussain Shaheed Soharwardi, Lt-General (Retired) Asad Durrani, Asif Durrani, Brig (Retired) Saad Mohammad and others.

Most of the participants said that Afghanistan was already heading towards a civil war as Afghan Taliban and Kabul government were fighting each other, militias were emerging. However, they may change sides if the Taliban overran Kabul.

Some of them believed that Taliban may take over Kabul easily while others differed, saying Afghan National Army was well equipped and trained. They said the Ashraf Ghani government had the advantage of having international recognition and legitimacy while winning the same status would be a challenge for Taliban.

The participants said Pakistan must pursue a neutral policy towards all the groups in Afghanistan and develop contacts with all of them. They said Pakistan needed to coordinate its policies with the immediate neighbors of Afghanistan to counter the agenda of spoilers and pave the way for a power-sharing agreement.

The speakers said Afghanistan neighbours must push the Taliban diplomatically towards a negotiated settlement rather than fighting for taking over Kabul by force. A lack of power-sharing agreement will result in a long-drawn-out war between the Taliban and Kabul government, they feared. The speakers said Pakistan needed to enhance strict border management as an influx of refugees was expected in the emerging situation in Afghanistan.