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Editorial: Afghanistan in nether regions of peacefulness

The Afghan peace process has been unquestionably at full throttle recently but so has been violence and conflict in the country. The former developments give hope to Afghan masses while the latter scenario is there to snatch it away. Given the circumstances, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Afghanistan has once again retained its bad distinction of being the least peaceful country in the world, according to the 2020 Global Peace Index. Among 163 independent countries and territories ranked based on their levels of peacefulness, Afghanistan, which has been in the five bottom nations since 2015, remained the least peaceful country for the second year in a row followed by Syria and Iraq. This is while despite the signing of the Feb. 29 peace deal between the US and the Taliban, Afghanistan continues to witness attacks from insurgents and other terrorist outfits, with a noticeable uptick in targeting religious sites lately. Lamentably, a recent bombing at Shershah Suri Mosque in capital Kabul, four people, including the Imam, were killed. This comes as earlier this month a similar attack claimed the life of the Imam of Wazir Akbar Khan Mosque. Although there are other reasons for not being peaceful, the insurgency and ensuing violence and conflict are the predominant reasons for Afghanistan’s scary and deadly situation. Despite considering the fact that violence usually reaches the peak when there are talks of armistice and peace, the recent heinous attacks are terroristic in nature and only serve the purpose of throwing a spanner in the works of peace and stability in Afghanistan. This is indeed something the warring parties should be cognizant of. The optics of the situation shows that there is a conspiracy against peace hatched by the enemies of Afghanistan and those who don’t see their benefits secured in a peaceful Afghanistan. This too at a time when the country faces a historical opportunity for peace and thus can ill afford to let spoilers disrupt it. Violence in Afghanistan has reached a level where no words can do justice to the atrocities being committed here, something that speaks volumes about being at the bottom in terms of peacefulness. At this juncture, as President Ashraf Ghani is said to announce new steps for peace by next week, the immediate launch of intra-Afghan negotiations is of key importance in order to save the country from the plots made by enemies. All hurdles to all-Afghan talks should be removed at the earliest because the current situation is a race against time; the more the negotiations are prolonged, the greater the human loss is going to be for Afghans.

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