Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 21st, 2018

Afghanistan’s Neighbors and Near Neighbors Hold the Key Roles

Neighboring countries have always had a role to play in Afghanistan. Since every neighbor and near neighbor country has its own specific bjectives to follow here, Afghanistan has turned into a battle field. An instable Afghanistan is in no country's favor that is why the countries around Afghanistan and beyond have paid high price for this.

Today, the Karzai administration is trying to involve Taliban in table talks and by this way put an end to three-decade long conflict. The process is quite vague; albeit the international community – which has started withdrawing from Afghanistan by handing key responsibilities to Afghans - is backing Karzai's this initiative. The United States has been calling on the regional countries and its allies to support the Afghan peace reconciliation program. The role of Pakistan in supporting the peace process is being deemed vital.

During his recent visit to Islamabad, Marc Grossman, the US special regional envoy talked of the important role Pakistan has in making deal with Taliban possible. Grossman highlighted "the unique role that Pakistan must play in supporting the reconciliation process", as Afghan leaders and the international coalition consider talks with Taliban militants.

"Neighbors and near-neighbors of Afghanistan have this extremely important role to play supporting not just the Afghan-led reconciliation but the region's economic vision as well," said Grossman.

Pakistan shares around 2440 km border with Afghanistan and has a number of commonalities – culture, religion, language etc. One more common factor between them is the terrorism. Both the countries have the lowest level of security and insurgency is growing with each passing day. What Pakistan has always maintained is that a stable Afghanistan is in its favor. The same can be said in reverse, i.e. a stable Pakistan is in the best interest of Afghanistan. The two neighbors should come together and support each other's initiative.

They need to bolster their relationships based on the mutual respect and sincerity and stop the blame game. Pakistan says, it is supporting every initiative that can bring peace to Afghanistan. The time has come for Pakistan to prove this practically.

The countries in the region, in addition to supporting peace, need to give a hand in reconstruction of Afghanistan. Failure to bringing peace in Afghanistan, with no doubts, means further expansion of extremism in the region and beyond.