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Opinion: The Peace Prospect in Afghanistan

15 Apr 2019 Afghanistan Times


years of war and violence have had a profound negative impact on the psyche of

the Afghan nation.  I can share with certainty that every single Afghan

family has lost a loved one to this insidious war.  Despite the resilience

of the brave people of Afghanistan, this war has had a prolonged traumatizing

effect with deep psychological scars and devastating mental health issues on

individuals, families and communities. While it is true that this war has been

imposed by outsiders on the Afghans, it is also a sad reality that it has been

waged within by Afghans against each other under the politics of ethnicity,

regionalism and language.   Consequently,

the noble people of Afghanistan have been robbed from a peaceful life which

they deserve.   Dr. Khalilzad, the US peace

envoy deserves much appreciation and recognition for his hard work and Drs.

Ghani and Abdullah, the co-leaders of the Afghan Unity Government should be

applauded for their strategic patience and flexibility. Additionally, former

President Karzai and other political leaders, women groups, members of the

civil society and the youth groups should be applauded for their efforts in

promoting peace. In order to move forward, I believe this is a critical moment

for every Afghan citizen to accept responsibility, reconcile their differences

and move together towards peace with one unifying voice. This is the moment of truth for every Afghan to accept forgiveness as a

gift of reconciliation instead of practicing hatred as a weapon of retaliation

and destruction.

As the next round of

peace discussions between the United States and the Taliban with participation

of a broad- based Afghan groups will resume in Doha, Qatar in the near future,

there is much hope and anticipation that these discussions will produce some

desirable results towards peace.  It is important to know that in every

negotiation, sometimes there are obstacles that must be overcome. As has been

noted by many, the Afghan peace discussions have three dimensions which include

the international efforts, regional cooperation and the intra-Afghan dialogue

which I think is the most challenging and delicate part of the discussion process.

I would like to share

some thoughts regarding the Intra-Afghan dialogue which is very critical for

success of these negotiations towards achieving peace in the country.  I

hope that those individuals who yield power, will think of peace as a Special

Gift that transcends personal supremacy, ethnicity, regionalism and political

orientation. In essence, achieving peace requires sacrifices by all members of

the Afghan society, especially those whose lives have been adversely affected

by this protracted cycle of violence and terrorism.  The representation of

the following Afghan groups in peace discussions can serve as a good catalyst

for sharing thoughts, feelings and concrete recommendations during upcoming

Doha Conference.

The High Peace Council under the leadership of Mr. Mohammad Omar

Daudzai and other officials who can present their individual views regarding


Political Parties, the Women Groups, the Civil Society and the

Afghan Youths Groups whose diverse views on opportunities and challenges

towards achieving peace can be useful.  Incorporating

their recommendations into a framework that ensures transparency and fairness

will be very important.

Other national personalities who are known by virtue of their good

deeds and love of their Afghan nation.

Some Afghan intellectuals living outside of the country, and who

can provide fresh and unbiased views during these negotiations.

Immediate Need for a Ceasefire

As the peace discussions

take momentum and some form of agreement on time table for foreign force

withdrawal is achieved, and the Taliban guarantee that the Afghan soil and the

region will not be used by terror groups against the interest of the United

States and the west, there is a need for Six-month Ceasefire to be signed by

the parties and supported by the United Nations.  This Ceasefire Phase is

extremely important for building confidence and generating goodwill between the

Afghans and the Taliban. Further, this period will allow time for Dr. Khalilzad

to generate firm commitments of the neighboring countries and the international

community in support of the Afghan peace process. I believe the following

points will highlight the importance of this Ceasefire in the Afghan scene.

Creating psychological comfort and emotional stability for the

population:  The cessation of hostilities

and reduction in terrorism and violence will have a cathartic psychological impact

on general public who have been witnessing traumatic events for a long

time.  Additionally, these developments

will have a positive emotional impact on those with war pain and episodic

trauma as a result of the unfortunate events of the past.

Achieving a National Consensus Towards Peace:  As the broad-based Afghan groups continue

their dialogue towards achieving a lasting peace, a national consensus can

emerge during the Ceasefire.  This

important document can serve as a Memorandum

of Understanding for Peace in the country.

Attaining Political Agreement: 

There are some thorny issues that must be discussed; 1. How the Taliban

version of Sharia Law will fit into current Afghan Constitution by safeguarding

the democratic achievements of the past 18 years while accommodating the

demands of the Taliban? 2.  Is there a

need for a Transitional Period and Who should lead during this period and for

how long? 3. When is it feasible to hold the next Presidential Elections in the


Ensuring the Reduction of Violence in the country:  At present, the Taliban receive much of the

blame for violence in the country.  This

Ceasefire will provide checks and balances on other insurgent groups who have

been responsible for violence in Afghanistan. 

This will provide a good opportunity for assessing the intention and

commitment of the neighboring countries towards Afghan peace endeavors.

Continuing Political Support for Afghanistan.  The United States, NATO and their

international counterparts should support the hopes and aspiration of the

Afghans for a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. This political support for

peace should continue for a reasonable period of time.  After winning the cold war with the

resilience of the Afghan Jihad in late 80s, the United States abandoned the

people of Afghanistan and this region which had become the hub of political activities

by Al-Qaeda and other undesirable groups.

Devising a Five- Year Aid Peace Package for Afghanistan.  The United States, NATO and their

counterparts have made enormous contributions in the areas of security,

infra-structure and nation building. 

During this transitional period, there is a need for designing a new

economic package that would meet the varying needs of the people while navigating

Afghanistan towards economic self-sufficiency. 

Afghanistan has enough wealth in natural resources and considerable

potential for exporting fruits and other Afghan products to the neighboring

countries.  This economic package should

be based on concrete measurable outcomes which will ensure gradual progress

towards self-sufficiency. 

Assisting the Leadership of Afghanistan towards Effective

Governance.  Despite considerable

progress, Afghanistan is still facing systemic governance issues related to the

Rule of Law, Transparency, Accountability, Public Participation, Effective

Leadership and Equity and Inclusion.  The

international community can provide the necessary technical assistance to help

Afghanistan become structurally sound and financially viable.

Curbing Corruption.  Grand

corruption has taken hostage the soul of the Afghan nation.  It is time for the United States and NATO to

open their blind eyes to this endemic problem. 

I believe both the United States and NATO know these corrupt

personalities and have the necessary information about their assets in

different banks.  The international

community must take a bold step in freezing their assets and exposing their

identities.  Endemic corruption is

serving as the source of all evils and a great obstacle to peace.  Unless we clean this mess, peace will not be

achieved in Afghanistan.  My country, the

United States must assert its moral leadership in eradicating this cancer from

the veins of the Afghan heart.  Afterall,

we owe this to the next young generations of the Afghan leaders. 

Matin Royeen, Ph.D. is an Afghan American educator.  He is living in Chicago, Illinois.

He can be reached at: [email protected]

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