Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

In Talk with Neighbors

On the verge of Bonn II Conference, Afghanistan is put in limbo with devastating external intrusions which have put the peace building process here at stake. Since assassination of former Chief of Afghan High Peace Council, the course of peace talks offered by President Karzai administration is decelerated and may potentially expire. Amidst increasing tensions between US administration and the Pakistani government over the alleged ISI links with militant groups fighting against NATO forces here, Afghan government has pointed at some elements inside Pakistan for murdering Burhanuddin Rabbani.

In a statement issued by his office Wednesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, long a staunch advocate of peace talks with the Taliban, questioned whether the insurgent group was able to seek a political settlement and blamed Pakistan for fomenting instability.

And, in an interview with an Afghan television channel, the President said Friday that his government would start negotiations with Pakistan rather than with Taliban leadership. The U-turn in President Karzai's approach towards Taliban leadership comes as they are believed to be not independent enough to make its own decisions about how it conducted the war.

President Hamid Karzai claimed that former president Burhanuddin Rabbani's killing was plotted in the Pakistani city of Quetta. During his interview, president Karzai said that initial investigations into the assassination of Rabbani have pointed out that individuals from Quetta were behind the killing and that a fact-finding delegation will travel to Pakistan soon to investigate the case.

Having acknowledged Pakistan's pivotal role in peace building process in the country, Afghan government has sought our western neighbor's support for the abortive peace process here. Iran is believed to have great potential to help the peace building process here.

During several meetings with Iranian officials, Afghan government has noted the country's importance for ensuring peace and instability in Afghanistan. In a sideline meeting with Iranian delegation at the latest UN Summit in New York, Afghan foreign minister asked for the country's participation in Bonn II Conference that is going to be held on Afghanistan in December this year. The Islamic Republic has been, for several times, accused of supporting insurgency here.

Struggling to optimize their interests in this war-ravaged country, our neighbors and the regional countries have expressed their concerns on the current process in Afghanistan and have made use of any means to ensure their – sometime – conflicting interests here.

NATO officials and President Karzai has stressed the need for regional consensus and cooperation for pushing the process forward in Afghanistan. Serving the same purpose, secret meetings are reported to have been conducted on Afghanistan in Norway, prior to the second Bonn Conference, participated by US, Indian, Iranian, Pakistani and Afghan representatives.

The meetings, conferences, empty slogans for peace and frustrated requests would, however, make no difference unless there is genuine commitment by our neighbors to stop their long running lethal interferences.