Currently, support for the Afghan peace process is taking shape around the world, giving the Afghan people an optimistic outlook towards their country’s future. The NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday categorically reiterated its commitment to the Resolute Support (RS) Mission in Afghanistan, saying that troop reduction depended on a political settlement in the war-torn country. Meanwhile, the NATO defense ministers are set to discuss their commitment to the training mission in Afghanistan and the current situation in the country in Brussels on October 24-25. In addition, during a meeting in Brussels, the special representatives of the US – including the Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad – and several European nations have urged top Afghan leaders to work for formal intra-Afghan negotiations with the Taliban. The diplomats asked incumbent President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah to name an inclusive, national negotiating team while acknowledging the widespread and sincere demand of the Afghan people for a lasting peace and an end to the war.
Besides, Moscow is going to organize a consultation on Afghan peace on Oct. 25 which will be the fourth round of the quadruple consultations – consisting of China, US, Russia and Pakistan – on ending the war in Afghanistan, with Beijing hosting the last one in July this year. Furthermore, China is poised to host the 3rd round of intra-Afghan dialogue reportedly on Oct 28-29 in Beijing. Shortly after that announcement, the Taliban’s political office in Qatar said its delegation led by Mullah Baradar will participate in intra-Afghan talks in China. On the other hand, the Afghan State Ministry for Peace (SMP) through a statement has said that it welcomed any kind of dialogue between Afghans in principle but with the expectation that it would be a step forward in the peace process. The ministry informed of ongoing discussions with the Chinese government on how to conduct the dialogue, adding that the decision of the Afghan government’s participation would be taken if acceptable criteria were met.
As much as the Afghans consider these steps as a gesture of goodwill of the international community and the regional countries, there are some hidden goals that some of these states strive to achieve – something that in many cases is counter-productive for Afghanistan. Afghanistan has long been the battlefield of superpowers and has been victimized by some of our regional countries, which seek their benefits in the continuation of the war. The talk of the Taliban and other terrorist groups being sponsored by regional countries isn’t any more a secret and the whole world knows it; thus these states as part of their support to Afghan peace and a first step to achieving this end should sever these links. These recent steps to show support for Afghan peace by the regional countries and Afghanistan’s allies are laudable on the condition that they are sincere. They should know that a peaceful and tranquil Afghanistan is in their best interest in terms of global security, as well as from an economic perspective because of Afghanistan’s geostrategic status. Therefore, a global and regional synergy is key for peace in Afghanistan, otherwise if this doesn’t happen and even one of these countries isn’t acting genuinely, peace in Afghanistan will remain elusive and a distant dream, rendering these steps ‘symbolic.’