Tuesday, 16 July 2019, 01:37:02 am
Afghan peace talks can be 'breakthrough' to resolve longstanding conflict: Analysts
December 18, 2018

Major General, retired, Ijaz Awan (Defense Analyst):

Pakistan has always a clear stance that only solution to prevailing Afghan situation is political and can never be resolved through military use. The US has all along been blaming Pakistan of double dealing without understanding the ground realities and the complexity of the situation, which required serious engagement between Pakistan and the United States. Now, the United States has realized that despite of presence of over 140,000 troops in war torn country, Taliban are still in control of over 60 percent area of Afghanistan. Without the support of regional stakeholders, including Pakistan, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, United States all alone can never bring peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan has been a US ally since early fifties and in spite of US betrayals has played a very significant role in the war against terror as a front line state. Now realizing the ground realities, United States appreciated the role of Pakistan in war against terror. I have personal opinion tat United States and Trump administration is now tired of 17-years long war in Afghanistan and this time United States is expressing seriousness in brining Taliban on table of negotiation. United States is also aware of the fact that without the support of Pakistan respectful withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan is not possible.

Dr. Zahid Anwar Khan (Expert on Afghan Affairs):

Pakistan always supported collective peace efforts and Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. The geo-strategic position of Pakistan has made it important regional countries in context to promoting peace in Afghanistan. The twee of Prime Minister Imran Khan is based on ground realities. There is no other option left just to have a political solution to Afghan situation. The US is terribly wrong in choosing the path of continued military confrontation in Afghanistan and punishing Pakistan for its own failures in that country. Now we have observed a change in US policy towards Pakistan and South Asian region. The US also must review assigning of increased role to India in Afghanistan as it would not only be acceptable to Pakistan, but also the Taliban who also regard India as an enemy. Peace in Afghanistan is not possible without involvement of Pakistan. The military and civilian leadership of the country has taken a very firm stand on the emerging situation by saying that the rhetoric of ‘do more’ was not acceptable any more.

Brigadier, retired, Mehmood Shah (Defense Analyst):

The demand of Taliban is withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan to initiate peace dialogue that is not acceptable to United States. America wants to monitor the activities of China and other regional countries by staying in Afghanistan. International community should Pakistan's effort for engaging Kabul in talks for developing a joint monitoring mechanism and adoption of reciprocal measures for the management of the mutual borders to check cross border movements of the terrorists without a positive response from the other side. The Pakistani leadership is convinced of the fact that peace in Afghanistan means peace in Pakistan. It has shown its commitment in this regard by taking indiscriminate action against the terrorist outfits and by making relentless efforts to promote process of Afghan-led and Afghan owned process of reconciliation.

Dr. Sarfraz Khan (Expert on International Relations):

Peaceful and stable Afghanistan is in the best interest of Pakistan, and Pakistan has always made serious efforts for Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process. The Afghan government and the United States need to appreciate the efforts and stop blaming Pakistan for their own failure and inability to control the situation in Afghanistan. Any strategy to defeat them militarily does not stand any chance of success. The United States has tried it during the last seventeen years without success. So we are hopeful for the positive outcomes out of ongoing dialogue process between Taliban and United States. The elements trying to create hurdles in Afghan peace process should be dealt with iron hands. I am hopeful that Taliban will not be oppose the process provided congenial environment is created and confidence building measures are taken to encourage the Taliban rejoin the peace talks which is the only panacea to all the problems of Afghanistan.

Aqeel Yousafzai (Expert on Afghan Affairs):

Pakistan is playing a positive role of facilitators for ongoing dialogue process between United States and Afghan Taliban. The role of Pakistan in this regard is limited. Afghan Taliban has a demand that NATO forces should withdraw from Afghanistan. It is my considered view that the issue needs collaborative efforts on the part of the United States, Kabul, Pakistan and regional powers like China and Russia, who are in one way or the other also affected by the scourge of terrorism. The focus should be on encouraging intra-Afghan dialogue. United States had now realized that military is not the solution to the looming crisis of Afghanistan so there is a dire need for dialogue to resolve the decade-long standoff. So far, with no seriousness being shown in engaging the warring factions for a political dialogue, situation is fast worsening in Afghanistan with each passing day.

Brig (Retd) Said Nazir (Defense Analyst):

It is good development that all the regional stakeholders have agreed on a point that there is only political solution to existing Afghan situation. United States have also realized that Taliban are the major stakeholder in war-torn country so holding direct talks with Afghan officials. Pakistan is playing a vital role of facilitator in initiating peace dialogue between US and Taliban. Trump’s policy aimed at focusing more on military solution, was taking the matters towards worse much to the miseries and disappointment of Afghan people who over the last many decades only have seen intense bloodshed and violence. China and Russia have always shown willingness to support and facilitate the peace process in the war torn country. I have no doubt in saying that the warring factions can again be wooed back to sustainable dialogue provided there is willingness and sincerity of purpose for peace. It is important that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US remove their mutual misunderstandings through consultations.