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The peace puzzle and the arrogance of power

By Aisha Khurram

After 18 months of talks and nearly two decades of war an historic deal was signed between United States and Taliban on Feb-29th-2020 which provided a glimmer of hope that the long and brutal war in Afghanistan may finally be getting to an end and that there could be a potential settlement or solution to the longest and deadliest war in the modern history of Afghanistan, but the following events proved that the hope for a sustainable peace in Afghanistan might turn to be just another false dawn.

The ongoing political crisis among Afghan leaders caused by the parallel inauguration in March 9th, pre-conditions that block the path towards intra-Afghan negotiation and the global outbreak of COVID-19 that eclipsed the Afghan peace process are testimonies that the US-Taliban agreement is dead in arrival.

Theoretically America’s war in Afghanistan is polarized between victory for which there’s no strategy and withdrawal for which there’s no clear policy, but one thing is for sure that the war between US and Taliban is a Guerilla warfare as Henry Kissinger defines it as a war that is all about losers and winners not about compromises.

“In Guerilla warfare, the conventional army loses if it does not win and the Guerilla wins if it does not lose” – Henry Kissinger

With the sign of US-Taliban agreement and the unclear prospect of intra-Afghan negotiation Taliban might win by not losing the war.

Now it seems like Trump’s potential success in the 2020 presidential election is in making promises of peace and the immediate drawdown of US troops while creating public delusions and shifting the shape of conflict by leaving the responsibility of the war to the Afghan people and the fractious Afghan government in Kabul.

This might be a huge foreign policy success for the incumbent president of United States to drawdown US troops before the 2020 US elections, but we hope that it doesn’t turn out to be a historic failure for the Afghan people who paid a heavy price for an infamous and pointless war for nearly two decades.

With the start of New Year 1399 on the first day of Nawroz an occasion of happiness and celebration of springtime, Afghan people started the first day of Nawroz with grief and mourning for the loss of at least 25 ANDSF soldiers that have been attacked by Taliban in Zabul province.

What is the end that justify this brutality? And how we are supposed to save Afghanistan if we destroy it in a meaningless war against each other?

In 2001 Afghans were guaranteed security, protection and prosperity none of which truly materialized in the US-Taliban agreement, the nation’s most significant challenges are being ignored and many major problems remain untouched such as the ongoing political turmoil, intra Afghan negotiation and Taliban who still insist on using the term of Islamic emirate of Afghanistan in agreements.

Now the question rises, if practically nothing is to be left of the government and our nation than what is there to be saved for what?

Amidst all the uncertainties and roadblocks on the path towards a sustainable peace, the ongoing political crisis among political elites in the government is adding insult to injury.

It’s not the right time for our political leaders to play the game of thrones and exercise their power for the sake of personal interests,

While our frustrated generation hopes for a relaxation of tension and expect a united stance from their political leaders more than ever before, the arrogance of power make them concerned that the whole peace efforts might be doomed.

All parties to the conflict in particular Taliban need to realize that this is an unwinnable and zero sum game and the minute they realize that a military solution is out of question they will find us ready to reciprocate

 While  the tectonic plates of our country is shifting towards a new direction Afghan Youth find themselves at crossroad and In the wake of renewed violence the way ahead for the younger generation of Afghanistan is by no means certain.

Although we as bystanders in this big theater feel paralyzed by the sense of powerlessness in the face of political turmoil and old system of conflict resolution but it’s time for us to display courage in daring not only to imagine but to act upon the conviction of what is right and build towards what we believe otherwise we may be the next generation that leave a fractured Afghanistan than the one we inherited.

Those of us who oppose the war need to raise our voices and make the leaders follow because the new generation of Afghanistan would not pay any price or bear any burden that its elders might dictate anymore.

It’s time to remind ourselves despite all the differences just how much we share common hopes and common dreams that pull as together as Afghans,  we are not only subjects to blind and impersonal forces but we can shape our individual and collective destiny by simply being united, faithful and optimistic to  strategically build towards what we believe.

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