Islamabad’s role in Afghan Peace

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid a daylong official visit to Afghanistan along with Lt General Faiz Hamid, Director General ISI. During the visit COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan in Kabul. According to reports, Chief of the Defence Staff UK General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter was also present during the COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa meeting with President Ashraf Ghani. According to reports, General Bajwa underscored the Pakistan’s unwavering support to an Afghan led Afghan owned peace process based on mutual consensus of all the stakeholders. According to him, a peaceful Afghanistan means a peaceful region in general and a peaceful Pakistan in particular. According to Pakistan Army media wing, President Ashraf Ghani acknowledged the role of countries in the region, especially Pakistan, is critical for peace in Afghanistan due to its influence on the Taliban. President Ghani further said that stability in both countries is connected to each other and called for a “sincere role” to be played by Pakistan in ensuring a just and enduring peace in Afghanistan. Afghan Peace process had struck into a stalemate over more than three months and no efforts of the facilitators could prove to be fruitful. Due to stalemate in Intra-Afghan negotiation no agreement had been forged by the both warrying parties and this disarray led to the delay in United States troops withdrawal from Afghanistan. The situation got more acute and fragile due to United States recent announcement to withdraw its troops by Sep 11 this year. According to analysts, the US announcement made the challenge more difficult for the US itself as the Taliban can further elude from the dialogue with Afghan government by assuming themselves as victorious in the absence of the United States from the battlefield. However, American leadership is confident that its diplomats can effectively maneuver the dialogues without a military shield. However, the United States had played its most important and effective card by pushing Pakistan military to move forward the stalled intra-Afghan Peace negotiations. Pakistan Army Chief himself went to Afghanistan and met Afghan leadership to motivate them to avail the opportunity of peace in their countries. However, the language used in the statement issued by the Afghan Presidential Place depicts doubts on sincerity of Pakistan’s efforts.
The dilemma, which remained an inherited problem of former Afghan Northern Alliance and its present-day leadership. The Afghan leaders want “sincere efforts” from Pakistan and apparently not satisfied with it. Pakistani leadership was continuously engaged with Afghan parties over the recent weeks to reinvigorate the peace process. However, it is distrust of Afghan government and selfishness of Taliban that both sides did not move from this hard post. Taliban announced 3-day ceasefire during Eid-ul-Fitr which was also reciprocated by the Afghan government. Pakistan is in efforts to agree both sides to extend this ceasefire to provide space to negotiation between them. However, Afghan leadership must search reason of this stalemate in and around themselves instead of creating suspicious about Pakistan sincere efforts. If both Afghan parties would keep displaying this self-centered behavior than no one can do anything to bring peace in the war-torn country.