Who is hindering peace dialogue?

IN his address to the UN General Assembly, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called upon Pakistan to engage into a comprehensive state-to-state dialogue on peace, security and regional cooperation leading to prosperity. He claimed that in the new US strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia we have an opportunity for a dialogue with our neighbours on how we can work together earnestly to eliminate terrorism and contain extremism.
Pakistan has long been urging Afghanistan to shun rhetoric and engage into meaningful dialogue not only for resolution of differences between the two countries but also on how to promote Afghan national reconciliation which is very vital to peace, stability and progress of the region. It would not be an exaggeration to say that most of the existing problems of Pakistan with respect to security and internal stability are direct or indirect product of volatile situation in neighbouring Afghanistan, as Pakistan has been suffering from consequences of decades old conflicts in that country. Problem began with Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and Pakistan has been paying the price in terms of bomb blasts, suicide attacks, acts of sabotage and hosting world’s largest number of refugees despite apathy of the international community towards refugee issue. Pakistan has genuinely been interested in promoting regional peace as it is deeply linked to the success of on-going developmental activities in the country. It was Pakistan that arranged Murree talks but then both the United States and Kabul government backtracked on flimsy grounds. Since then Pakistan has been reiterating its position to support all attempts and initiatives aimed at peaceful resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan but the new US strategy has complicated things further. We do not subscribe to the view point of Ashraf Ghani that a surge in troops in Afghanistan, as envisaged in the US policy, would send a signal to Taliban that they cannot win on the field and must negotiate for peace. We have seen in the past that use of force has aggravated the situation further and this is going to happen again if emphasis remained on bombings and killings. Pakistan is ready to contribute to peaceful settlement of the problem, Iran has declared so and earlier China and Russia also subscribed to the view point of Pakistan. Then where is the problem? Obviously, it is the US and the Afghan government that are hindering the process and they will have to change their approach if they are sincere in their proclamations about peace and stability.

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