The future of peace in Afghanistan is rooted in lessons from the past. EFSAS report

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 In its recently published article, The future of peace in Afghanistan is rooted in lessons from the past”, the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) has evaluated the future of the long desired peace-process in Afghanistan. EFSAS explores in its article the history of Afghanistan and how since the late 1970s, the country has suffered a series of devasting wars that have taken their toll. Several forms of government have been attempted in Afghanistan and none of them have been able to rule without resorting to war, infighting and atrocities. To this date, as each actor promotes and propagates its own agenda, the battle for control and influence continues, leaving nothing but continuous state of confusion in its wake.

Furthermore, in its article EFSAS describes the recent US-Taliban talks and that most probably the future of Afghanistan will be played between two internal actors, namely the Taliban and the Afghan government led by Ashraf Ghani, although there is little to no interaction between the two parties. As the US establishes more political talks with the Taliban, the Afghan government sees this is as a betrayal because it contributes to the erosion of Ghani’s political presence and undermines his government’s legitimacy.

EFSAS also analyzed regional interests of several neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, China, India and Iran, which will all try to compete for influence in economic and military spheres in Afghanistan. China’s global economic plan known as the Belt and Road Initiative requires stable Central- and South Asian regions. Other regional actors which will try to compete for influence in Afghanistan, are India and Pakistan; While Pakistan and Afghanistan share a strained relationship due to Pakistan’s sponsorship of the Taliban, India is advocating for a strong central government, which would be able to counter Pakistani influence.

While the attempts by the US and other international powers to sit across the table with the Taliban in search of the long-elusive peace in Afghanistan, are welcome developments, the absence of insistence that the terrorist outfit eschew violence prior to ushering it onto the table does raise serious concerns, and therefore there should be efforts to bring the Afghan government to the negotiating table. EFSAS concluded its article by saying that while everyone demands a slice of the Afghan cake, Ghani’s government feeds on crumbs and Afghan civilians are left to starve.

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