Pakistan’s Importance And Role in Afghan Peace Process
Ensuring a long term peace and stability in Afghan land has become a major challenge both for the US and her NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies. After the 9/11 attacks, US spend a huge sum of money to not only over throw Taliban’s government in Afghanistan but also ensure peace and stability in the country and region by installing true democratic government in the country. Over the past one and half decade, after spending an enormous amount of resources in war on terror in Afghanistan, US has learned that peace in the country is not possible without engaging and dragging Taliban back to the state politics. To bring Taliban to negotiation table US President Donald Trump through a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan requested Pakistan’s full support in Afghan peace process. In response of the letter, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government assured US that peace in Afghanistan is in interest of both Pakistan and Afghanistan and that Pakistan will fully support the peace talk process.
Over the past few years, since US has adopted peace talk process as the only solution to Afghan problem, Pakistan, on accusation of USA and Afghan political leaders, has repeatedly denied their blame that Afghan Taliban are under her control. Though the government of Pakistan has no direct or indirect link and influence over them but still USA and her allies are pushing Pakistan for persuading Taliban to agree to peace process. What role Pakistan can play in Afghan peace process depends on the level of her influence over both Taliban and USA and other member states of the peace process.
Peace in Pakistan is Linked With Peace in Afghanistan: We should not forget that peace in Pakistan is linked with peace in Afghanistan and the government of Pakistan has reaffirmed it time and again. This single factor discloses the importance of Pakistan’s efforts and her engagement in the peace process. It also shows the importance of peace process for Pakistan itself and nullifies all speculations about Pakistan’s dual standards about Taliban, Afghanistan and peace process.
Contact Taliban: Shared ethnicity and common border between the two countries give Pakistan prominence over other member states of the peace process to contact Taliban leaders and to persuade them for peace talk and political solution to the Afghan issue. In this regard Pakistan has used the services of Pakhtoon tribal leaders in the past and she can use their service again this time.
Assure Taliban: It is obvious that Taliban would fully engage in peace talks and would agree to peace process terms and conditions only if they are assured that they would not be deceived. Being an immediate neighbor of Afghanistan and an easy to hit target for Taliban, only Pakistan can give such assurety to Taliban.
True Arbitrator: As peace in Pakistan is linked with peace in Afghanistan, there is no doubt that the peace process has more significance for Pakistan than any other member state of the peace process. Therefore only Pakistan can play a sincere role for arbitration between Taliban and Afghan government.
Drafting Constitutional Amendments: It is also obvious that Taliban have problems with the current political structure of Afghanistan and if they agree to become part of political system and participate in the politics of the country, they would certainly ask for constitutional amendments in the country. In this regard only Pakistan, being an Islamic republic, can help to negotiate amendments between Taliban and Afghan government and help Afghan government to successfully pass the amendment bills.
Pakistan can play an effective and successful role in Afghan peace process only if US stop blaming and pressurizing the country. Similarly it is also important that US along with other member states of the peace process should understand and effectively addressed Pakistan’s concerns regarding Pak-Afghan border and Indian role in Afghanistan especially the use of Afghan land by Indian intelligence agencies against Pakistan. The foreign minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi has rightly said that long lasting stability in Afghanistan is possible only through an “Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace process”.