For Afghan peace

THERE is now growing realization at the regional and
international level that the solution to Afghan conflict lies
only in peace talks. The process launched at the regional level by China and Russia along with US efforts to engage with the Taliban vindicate Pakistan’s stance which since beginning of the conflict advocated for dialogue instead of military solution to achieve peace. It is now up to the regional countries and the United States to take forward the process with consistency and positive frame of mind in order to achieve the long cherished goal of peace and stability in Afghanistan which in fact is in the interest of entire region.
In this backdrop, the second round of Pakistan-China-Afghanistan trilateral dialogue in Kabul was very important and also remained productive in the context that the three regional countries also signed a Memorandum of Understand regarding promoting anti-terrorism cooperation. This trilateral initiative initiated by Beijing has remained very successful in bringing Pakistan and Afghanistan close to each other and reduce the trust deficit not totally but to some extent as in the first ministerial meeting held in Beijing in December last year, both Islamabad and Kabul made progress on the establishment of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity which in fact provided a platform to both the countries to address their issues and misunderstandings. The second round in Kabul also was an effort to build the confidence and reduce the trust deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan and one expects that the three countries stay engaged more frequently in order to build such a strong partnership that nobody could throw a spanner in it.
China has always played a very positive and important role in the regional context and this very initiative which in fact is in the interest of all the regional countries is also indicative that China wants to move forward on the path of progress and development by taking along those in the neighbours. During these talks, China also expressed readiness to assist the two neighbouring countries in establishing road and rail connectivity projects. As both Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoy excellent relations with China and give weight to its point of view, therefore, we have no doubt in saying that the rising power can really play the role of a bridge. Also addressing a joint news conference at the conclusion of trilateral dialogue, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country aims to help create a favourable environment between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Indeed the tense relations and blame game over the years has only benefited the enemies of peace and added to the woes of the peoples of both the countries which affectionately feel for each other because of their close proximity and bonds.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi on the occasion also reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process whilst stressing for better border management and intelligence sharing to curb movement of terror elements. Pakistan on its part has shown commitment towards this end by initiating work on fencing the border. It is also time for Afghanistan and the US led forces to do the needful on their side of the fence to check movement of undesirable elements instead of resorting to baseless and uncalled for allegations against Pakistan. They have to fulfil their responsibility if they really want to purge the country of elements such as Daesh and militants backed by India.
Whilst regional countries such as Pakistan, China and Russia can and definitely will facilitate the reconciliation process, it is ultimately for the Afghan government, the Taliban and also the US to show the willingness and determination towards bringing to an end the long sufferings of the Afghan people. The US has to withdraw from Afghanistan sooner or later and definitely it cannot leave a volatile country behind as it did in the past as this will have disastrous consequences. Therefore, the US must honestly strive for peace amongst the warring factions to steer the country out of current mess and lay the foundation of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

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