Pakistan’s role admitted in peace efforts
FOREIGN Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan will continue to play its vigorous role for bringing lasting peace in Afghanistan. He was talking to Afghan President’s Special Envoy on Afghan Reconciliation Process, Omer Daudzai in Islamabad. He also briefed the Afghan envoy about Pakistan’s efforts for ensuring peace and stability in the region saying that the international community has also acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan. On the occasion, Omer Daudzai lauded Pakistan’s tireless efforts to bring peace and tranquillity in Afghanistan and in the region. Pakistan’s role was lauded by Russia’s Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s visit to Russia, who offered Russia’s support to bring stability in the region. Both leaders also underscored the need to harmonise various regional approaches for developing a consensus on various issues not only for peace in Afghanistan but to the whole region.
Pakistan-China-Afghanistan trilateral dialogue forum proved useful for peace and stability in the region and social development. It would not be wrong to say that trilateral meeting had positive effect on the US-Taliban talks in the UAE, as the US felt that Russia would take all the credit. In fact, the US was concerned about Russia’s initiative for peace in Afghanistan, as Russia had cordial relations with Afghan government and was in contact with the Taliban also. Taliban envoys had taken part for the first time in high-level international talks in Moscow as part of a Russian-sponsored peace effort. Representatives from the militants’ Doha office had said they were taking part alongside senior diplomats from the region to find a peaceful solution to the issue of Afghanistan. Anyhow, Taliban leaders are playing their cards carefully, and are resolved not to have meeting with Afghan leadership unless an agreement is reached with the US.
The US Special Peace Envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad said he had productive meeting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as part of efforts to encourage negotiations between the Taliban and Kabul to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan. He termed Pakistan’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan as commendable. After President Trump’s decision to withdraw half of its forces from Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah appear to be worried over President Trump’s overtures to the Taliban and that they will have to share power with the Taliban. There is a suggestion regarding formation of interim government and amendments to the Afghan constitution to provide the Taliban a reasonable share in the government. Afghan government is also concerned over the situation after US forces withdrawal and the fate of national army, which comprises majority of Tajiks, Uzbaks and Hazaras.
Former President Hamid Karzai has said the other day that Americans are discussing military bases with the Taliban during their talks and that he believes that the United States forces are not going to leave Afghanistan. Addressing the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi (India’s premier foreign policy conference held every year since 2016), Karzai said he also believed that Pakistan and the United States could play a key role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. “I am among those who believe that Americans are not going to leave Afghanistan. They (US forces) didn’t come to leave, so they will stay in Afghanistan at least in the form of the bilateral security agreement, the bases, and thus I believe that the conversation that the Americans have with the Taliban as well on the bases. So, they will not go,” Karzai said in response to withdrawal of US forces.
He added that the peace process will not succeed if it is not fully Afghan-led, and that if it does not enjoy support from the neighboring countries and the region. Karzai however emphasized Pakistan and the United States’ role in bringing peace to Afghanistan, and said Afghans have recognized that role. “I am also emphasizing that we know that Pakistan has the most significant role to play for bringing peace to Afghanistan, perhaps second is the United States or both are equally important in bringing peace to Afghanistan and that role is recognized by us and we want Pakistan to play that role,” he said. “We don’t want a deal between the United States and Pakistan on Afghanistan, but we do want a peace process in which Pakistan plays an important role and in which the United States is also, including India, including Russia and China and Iran as well,” Karzai added.
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai does not realise that India has no role in peace process in Afghanistan, as it does not have borders with the country. In fact, India’s investment of billions of dollars in Afghanistan is in jeopardy. Karzai’s remarks came amid increasing efforts by the Afghan government and the international community to find a peaceful solution to the war in Afghanistan. Analysts are of the view that the Afghan government has been sidelined from the peace talks. However, the Afghan Government rejected such claims and emphasized that it was involved in the whole process. However, there is change in Afghan leaders’ tone and tenor. In line with Afghan Government’s efforts for peace, President Ghani’s special envoy Umer Daudzai was on a four-day visit to Pakistan where so far he held talks with Pakistani officials as well as political and religious leaders.