PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN: PERSPECTIVES & OPTIONS

Spearhead Special Report – 27.06.2018

By Hira A. Shafi
Senior Research Analyst, Spearhead Research

Recently, Afghanistan witnessed an alternate vision of co-existence when the Afghan Government along with US support called for a unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban.  The Taliban also conceded to an Eid Truce. After years of fighting, a glimpse of peace was witnessed. The Taliban forces were allowed to enter government controlled districts- after laying down their arms at security checkpoints- the local population, Afghan security forces personnel and Taliban members celebrated Eid together. Ghani offered to extend the ceasefire but Taliban forces reportedly turned down the offer and resumed operations on the 18th of June 2018.  The smooth materialisation of the ceasefire has indicated that the possibility of coexistence amongst various segments of the Afghan society is an achievable reality.  However, certain existential questions need to be addressed in order to build upon the recent gains:

  1. How can a military approach create space for political solutions in Afghanistan- especially amidst diverging desired end states by various internal and external forces?
  2. How can the Taliban’s call to engage in direct talks with US be harmonised with Afghan Government’s call for being recognised as the key authority?
  3. What is the correct political dispensation for Afghan diversity?
  4. How can the Afghan -war torn- socio economic fabric be reconstructed to make war a costly option for all parties?

In June 2018 a report titled Incremental Peace in Afghanistan was published by the by Conciliation Resources in its Accord Issue 27. The report gathered perspectives of various key authorities on Afghanistan and certain voices of the Afghan Taliban in order to map an outline of the various dynamics of the conflict and offer recommendations on the possible ways to create sustainable peace in Afghanistan.