See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Can lasting peace be achieved in Pakistan?

All sides, the government, the Taliban and the US must come together to ensure lasting peace.


Written by

Updated: January 30, 2019

AT this point, the situation where peace talks between the US government and the Afghan Taliban are concerned remains fluid.

After a series of marathon parleys lasting several days between Zalmay Khalilzad, America’s point man on Afghanistan, and representatives of the Taliban in Qatar’s capital Doha, the outlines of a possible peace deal between the US and the Afghan militia are emerging, though the details are not known.

While the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo termed the development “encouraging news”, the Taliban were more circumspect, saying nothing was final. Of course, in international diplomacy such posturing is natural, as stakeholders often release statements for public consumption, yet take a different line behind closed doors at the negotiating table until a final deal is reached.

Mr Khalilzad has also briefed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the developments. The Taliban, on their part, have dismissed calls for talking directly to Kabul, terming Mr Ghani’s setup as ‘powerless’, and, instead, choosing to talk directly to the Americans.

While genuine peace in Afghanistan may still be far off, the developments are encouraging considering the country’s troubled modern history, especially the last 40 years of near-constant war and political upheaval.

Related: How Pakistan can help with the Afghan peace process

Indeed, the Soviet invasion, the subsequent Afghan ‘jihad’, the era of the warlords and, thereafter, the US invasion and Taliban response have all played a part in destabilising Afghanistan and preventing the formation of a functional modern state.

However, after sustained US failure at nation-building post-2001, it appears that the Trump administration is in a hurry to bring its troops back, while evidently the Taliban would also like to conclude the nearly two decades of constant fighting and bloodshed.

Take a look: Endgame in Afghanistan

The peace efforts need to be encouraged by the international community as well as regional states; all must play their part to ensure a peaceful and democratic future for Afghanistan.

Where the Taliban are concerned, their key demand is a timetable detailing when American troops will leave their country. On the American side, Washington wants assurances that Afghan soil will not be used for international terrorism by Al Qaeda and similar outfits.

In between these two major demands, the finer details need to be worked out — specifically the role of the Afghan government in the whole process. While the Taliban may have dismissed any role for Kabul, they need to shed this rigid stance and work with the Ghani government to reach a negotiated settlement.

The way to lasting Afghan peace is long and winding. However, all three sides — the Afghan government, the Taliban and the US — must agree to a roadmap while some basic guarantees are needed, especially from the Taliban, regarding the protection of fundamental rights and basic freedoms in a post-war Afghanistan, as well as a pledge to prevent transnational terror groups, such as the militant Islamic State group, from using Afghanistan as a base for their activities.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

New Delhi slams Islamabad for unilaterally stopping postal services

Prasad further said that Pakistan ‘without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India’. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that Pakistan had stopped postal service from India for the last two months and slammed the move saying that it was in contravention of international norms. “For the last two months, Pakistan has stopped postal service from India. It’s directly in contravention of the World Postal Union’s norms,” Prasad told reporters. “But Pakistan is Pakistan,” Prasad, who is the Minister for Communications and IT, added. He said that Pakistan “without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India”. Pakistan has upped the ante against India ever since Parliament withdrew special category status to Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 of its Constitution.


By Dawn
October 22, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Beijing sounds warning against foreign interference at annual security forum

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe delivers a speech at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China. China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe sounded a thinly veiled warning against the United States at a security conference in Beijing, saying that interfering in the internal affairs of others and inciting colour revolutions have led to wars and turbulence in various regions in the world. Such “reckless interference” would not foster harmonious relations, said General Wei on Monday (Oct 21) in his speech to open the conference. Beijing has blamed foreign countries, including the US, for inciting the unrest that has convulsed Hong Kong for five months. It has also


By The Straits Times
October 22, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Border clash with India leaves 7 dead in Pakistan

Kashmir is becoming an untenable boiling point. At least six civilians and a Pakistani soldier were killed as Indian troops resorted to “indiscriminate and ruthless” shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), officials said on Sunday. Officials said that nine other civilians were injured, adding that this was the highest death toll in 2019 in a single day of Indian shelling from across the dividing line. Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) notified through a tweet that one soldier had been martyred in the exchange of fire while two others were injured. ISPR added that in response to unprovoked ceasefire violations by India in Jura, Shahkot and Nauseri sectors, nine Indian soldiers were killed while several ot


By Dawn
October 21, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Chinese TV drama to air on Kenya’s national television

China has expanded aggressively into Africa. Kenya Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday signed a partnership agreement with China’s National Radio and Television Administration that will see the national broadcaster air a popular Chinese TV drama, Feather Flies to the Sky. The drama is a 55-episode series that will be aired by national broadcaster Channel one TV until June next year. Speaking during the launch event in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Naim Bilal, the managing director of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, said the TV series has been dubbed in Standard Kiswahili, one of the official languages in Kenya, to make it appealing to many people. “We have reviewed the series, looked at its quality and content as well as the quality of the language, and we are fully satisfied that it’s a drama that is going to entertain Kenyans,” Bilal said. He sa


By China Daily
October 21, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

President Joko Widodo sworn in for second term

Joko exhorts Indonesians to develop ‘new ways and values’. A few hours before he was sworn in for a second and final term in office on Sunday (Oct 20), Indonesian President Joko Widodo uploaded a new profile picture on Facebook with the caption “Let’s work together towards progress for Indonesia”. The post has since garnered more than 224,000 likes and over 19,000 comments from well-wishers congratulating him on his re-election and cheering him on to steer the country to success. At around 4pm Jakarta time (5pm Singapore time), millions of Indonesians tuned in to a live television broadcast as Mr Joko, more popularly known as Jokowi, recited his oath of office before lawmakers and regional senators that make up the People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR, at the Parliament building. The new Vice-President, cleric Ma’ruf Amin, who replaced outgoing Mr Jusuf Kalla, also took h


By The Straits Times
October 21, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019