Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 17th, 2018

President’s Message, Reconciliation and New Strategic Paradigm

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President’s Message, Reconciliation and New Strategic Paradigm

The recent incidents in Afghanistan have, to a great extent, affected the people, the government and the US and other allies of the country. The people feel very much insecure, and the social psychology has further moved towards pessimistic tendencies. The US has not been able to digest these incidents readily and have increased their pressure on Pakistan to take decisive action against the Haqqani network, which they think was behind the incidents and is supported by Pakistan's spy agency, and has its stronghold in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

And the government seems to be very much incapable in the entire process. The President himself is being cornered as his close associates are being targeted one by one.

And after the death of Prof. Burhan ud din Rabbani, the chief of High Peace Council (HPC), the much emphasized and favored process of the president – the reconciliation process, is open to various questions and seems to achieve no considerable outcome in the times to come.

But the government does not seem to consider it a failure yet and has claimed that Pakistan's spy agency is behind the incident, while Taliban can always be brought back to the negotiation table.

President Karzai has been very much lenient towards Taliban so as to bring them to the negotiation table in order to integrate them into the political system of the country. Recently, the President's message in the UN General Assembly that was read by Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul, as President himself had to return to Afghanistan after the death of Prof. Rabbani, has mentioned, "Led until now by the late Rabbani, who is tragically no longer among us, through the High Peace Council, and supported by our partners, the peace process is a comprehensive effort, covering reintegration of armed combatants into dignified civilian life, as well as reconciling the leadership of the Taliban," and "The reconciliation policy was based on his commitment to making the political process more inclusive and to providing a genuine and acceptable alternative to violence for all Taliban and other militant leaders."

Though there have been high expectations from the HPC, as also mentioned in the excerpt of President's address, tangible outcomes are yet to be evident. Taliban have not responded to the efforts in a serious way as they have been considering the current government as a 'puppet government' and not worthy to be talked with.

It is also possible that they do not seem the reconciliation process as a solution and want to continue their violent struggle or they do not seem to settle with the offers HPC has for them. And their armed struggle in different parts of the country suggests that they are not yet fully ready to trust reconciliation process and there are many who believe that even the suicide bombing that killed Prof. Rabbani was carried out by the Taliban; if it is true, the government needs to do something more than sticking to the reconciliation process in the way it is carrying it on.

However, at the same time, it should not be neglected that ultimate solution for the problems in Afghanistan lies in political wisdom not military aggression.

The marked changes in the situation in Afghanistan are because of different reasons. The decision of the withdrawal of the foreign troops and a comparative urgency in it because of the international scenario especially the international economic crisis and the deteriorating Pak-US and Af-Pak relations are the basic reasons of the changes.

The country is going through a 'transition period', which is supposed to carry the country from the state of dependence to a relative self reliance in political and economic stability and security arrangements. Though Afghan government has welcomed the transition period and has made commitment that Afghan authorities are capable enough to shoulder the responsibilities themselves, there are very serious concerns about the claims.

There are many in intellectual circle who still believe that the time is not yet ripe for the Afghan government to shoulder the responsibilities themselves. And the government itself seems to have realized that the responsibilities are getting too tough for them to face without the comprehensive support of the US and other allies.

The above mentioned address of the President also seeks to find 'new paradigm of cooperation'. The message says, "As a framework for long-term partnership, we will call for a new paradigm of cooperation between Afghanistan and our partners," and "These partnerships will help guarantee Afghanistan's security and stability, as well as assist our future economic development.

I emphasize that neither our Strategic Partnership with the US nor any other partnerships we will forger in the future shall be a threat to our neighbors or any other country." So, this becomes very much evident that the government is not yet sure that it can carry the responsibilities of the country without the support of the major powers and in the same regard President seeks to convince the European powers as well to have a serious look at the 'new paradigm of cooperation'.

While searching for strategic cooperation with the US and the European countries, the President wants to make sure that the regional eyebrows are not tense, as well. But it is sure that extended cooperation with the US is going to annoy our neighbors, especially Pakistan and Iran.

The relations between US and Pakistan at the moment are very tense and they do not seem to be improving in quite some times to come so Pakistan is going to be infuriated by the extended presence of US in its immediate neighborhood.

Iran on the other hand has been a traditional rival to US, and it also does not seem comfortable with the prospects of Afghan-US long-term strategic partnership. The current Iranian statement after the death of Prof. Rabbani has anti-US tone and has claimed that Rabbani was against the strategic partnership with US.

Definitely, the Karzai government seems very much secluded at the moment and, at the same time, incapacitated against the strengthening reign of terror and the complex network and operations of terrorists.

Moreover, there are marked incapacities that the government is facing regarding security arrangements, political integration and economic stability. The government has to seek for strategic ties, not only with the US but the other countries as well, but at the same time it has to make sure through its diplomatic vigilance that the neighboring countries are not bothered much.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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