Why peace bid and fighting should go hand in hand

Create: 07/26/2015 - 13:21

Since the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani, efforts have been stepped up for peace talks with the Taliban. As a result, Pakistan-brokered discussions between Afghan government and Taliban representatives took place in the hill resort of Murree near Islamabad on July 7. The two sides agreed on a second sit-in after the Eid festival.
The negotiations are expected to lead to a substantive peace process. At the same time, President Ghani warns violence will induce a befitting response from government forces. Given below is a brief of analysis of war and talks going together.
One, the Karzai administration pursued the politics of supplication in a bid to reach out to the militants, particularly the Taliban. But that approach turned out to be futile, with the insurgents evincing no interest in dialogue. Instead, they continued with massacres by exploiting the government’s fragile position.
This policy failed to end the war on the one hand and played a key role in undermining the morale of Afghan security forces. But the strategic shift in the present government’s stance has persuaded Taliban leaders to come to the negotiating table and simultaneously boost the self-confidence of the security forces against the fighters.
In this regard, President Ghani’s media briefing on Saturday is worth considering. While referring to the situation in Iraq, he said: “We can’t say that the Afghan forces are being attacked by sons of soil.”
Two, addressing the Shanghai summit, the president divided the groups fighting in Afghanistan into two categories: the Afghan Taliban and foreign terrorists. Negotiations with the former were billed as a success, but making peace with foreign terrorists is unlikely. 
Given the ground realities, one can safely assume the Taliban are fighting domestically to reach their targets but groups in the second category are pursuing objectives at the regional and international level. The terrorist outfits are out to realise the aims they have been entrusted with. 
Looking at their objectives, we ought to ponder over two options: Either to let these terrorist groups to attain the tasks assigned to them, including bloodshed and the destruction of Afghanistan’s installations, or wage an all-out war on them.
It is believed Ghani’s warning of a robust response to terrorist attacks is directed at these outfits. At his recent news conference, the president said without mincing his words: “Terrorists are coming from Pakistan, China and Central Asian countries. In fact, they are fighting not against the Afghans, but against the system of governance in the region…they want to follow their international agenda by attacking this system.”
Similarly, the terrorists have chosen Afghanistan as a hub to achieve their sinister designs. At the moment, their elimination has been left only to the Afghan government, whose security forces have a strong will to fight the war on terror. The Ghani administration is no longer faced with any serious human resource problem.
In recent months, the Afghan forces have weakened the insurgent organisations but lack of equipment and modern tools has been an impediment to them. China’s promise of assistance, America’s pledge to deliver M29 warplanes in the near future and the Russian vow to consider cooperation can play an effective role in equipping the Afghan forces.
Three, international terrorist organisations, particularly the Islamic State or Daesh, are the believed to be the main challenge for the Afghan security establishment. They are a direct threat to the war weary country and a security risk for the region. The self-styled group could challenge the regional states any moment.
At the moment, the Afghan forces are at war with Daesh, particularly in Nangarhar province. Regional countries out to be wooed into the war against the Islamic State. A ministerial-level meeting of representatives from different nations be held in Kabul in the near future.
Predictably, the meeting will reaffirm support to the Afghan forces in addition to agreeing on concerted action against the scourge of terrorism.
The views expressed by the writer don’t reflect Pajhwok’s policy.