Afghan Peace Process is in a crucial stage as several developments outside and within Afghanistan are likely to have an impact on negotiations. A new administration entering the White House in January, and it is still unclear if Joe Biden will proceed with Donald Trump’s policy of a negotiated settlement and pulling American troops out of Afghanistan, or embrace an alternative path. Moreover, there is minimal progress in peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, however, the way that negotiations are proceeding is in itself positive. This is particularly evident because both sides continue to talk about peace and make war simultaneously.
Considering all these factors, For Pakistan, there are different advantages of encouraging peace in Afghanistan. The recent visit to Pakistan by a Taliban delegation carries much weight. On Friday, the delegation representing the Doha-based Taliban Political Commission driven by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar met Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad. Both sides talked about advancement on the Afghan peace process, the Prime Minister emphasized the fact that there is “no military solution for the conflict in Afghanistan”. Almost twenty years after the US invaded Afghanistan, and the Taliban waged war against foreign forces, this fact is evident.
For now, it is the responsibility of the Afghan government and the Taliban to take the peace process forward and achieve a solution. This will be strenuous but a genuine negotiated settlement is the only way for Afghanistan to experience stability and peace. Foreign forces must help along the way by not meddling in its internal affairs and encouraging dialogue between Afghan groups, it is the nation’s inner stakeholders, the government, the Taliban, and ethnic/tribal leaders, who hold the key to peace. That’s why Kabul and the Taliban must invest efforts to make the peace process succeed, or risk broadening Afghanistan’s war.