Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, May 29th, 2020

Belief – The First Step to Reach Sustainable Peace

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Belief – The First Step to  Reach Sustainable Peace

Initial steps, as the preliminary of establishing peace in Afghanistan, for the start of negotiations were taken. Too short and shaky steps and viewed with public mistrust, however, will open the long and rocky route of peace.
Reaching peace is admired by all societies, but only sustainable peace will lead a community to prosperity and stabilization. Although Afghans have a prolonged and rocky route ahead to reach peace, there have to be sacrifices, struggles, and conditions for sustainable peace.
Sustainable peace will emerge if the involved parties do not sustain harm, humiliation and surrender. With this in mind, the first precondition for peace will be belief in peace. The warring sides have to believe that conflict will only lead to damage and destruction and wasted all their opportunities. One of the negative aspects of war is that it is painted with the brush of sanctity by the fighters’ leaders. When war is sanctified and those killed in combat are called “martyred” and members of their hostile group as “dirty”, and war is deemed sacred, it will be highly difficult to end such a war.
In the aforementioned war, the fighters mostly come from rural areas with low-level education and strongly believe in their leaders’ statements, which further complicate the situation. The fighters will also consider their fight as sacred and it would be a religious practice for them. Their miserable life would be viewed as a part and parcel of reaching spiritual reward and their leaders may trigger their sentiment through wrong preaches. They simply seek to extend the number of their subdued followers with formidable beliefs and faith.
The Taliban group alleges to be the true followers of Islam seeking to campaign for its triumph. It views the Afghan government as “stooge” and government staff as foreign servants. Meanwhile, they term their war against Afghan and foreign troops as “jihad”, themselves as “mujahidin”, their leaders as “Emir-ul-Mumineen”, and their regime, if ever established, as “Islamic Emirate”.
The Taliban leadership has dictated such indoctrination within nearly two decades and half and maintained their fighters in the battlefields via such a strategy. Showing it has not succumbed to compromise and interpreting its peace deal with the United States as victory and opponent’s defeat, the Taliban leadership intends to justify it for its followers.
As an involved party to peace in Afghanistan, the Taliban need more to persuade their followers that their opponents are also entitled to life and citizenship for being human, Muslim, and Afghan.
The transformation of the Taliban’s ideology is likely to be the first step to reaching peace. It is possible to put all issues on the table for discussion but not the ideology which sanctifies war. With the initial emergence of the Taliban group, thousands of members of several jihadi parties joined the group, which led it to move the machine of war, made quick progress, and declared its Islamic Emirate in Kabul, backed by veteran fighters and Pakistan’s military support.
As tens of large and small terrorist groups – including the ISIS which is the most dangerous seeking to consolidate its presence in Afghanistan with the allegation of defending Islam – are active in the country, it is feared that members of the Taliban group join them to continue the conflict.
With the signing of peace deal, which will lead to the withdrawal of foreign troops, the Taliban leaders have been provided with the opportunity to de-sanctify the war for their followers since the war is no more aimed at ending “occupation” or pulling out foreign forces, as the Taliban claimed earlier. In such a case, the war is fought between Afghans on a common territory for eliminating one another. Mitigating the fighters’ sentiment with stating that no more foreign troops will exist to be fought is necessary for reaching peace – which will be an essential step for obtaining peace.
On the contrary, if the Taliban signal no intention for peace in their practices, acts, and words, as their leaders and elites waved their white flag in Qatar to indicate victory, Afghans are likely to near civil unrest rather than peace. Therefore, Afghans, who fill cities with delight to celebrate the victory of a cricket team, did not only not expressed their pleasure but also showed concern.

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