(MENAFN - Daily Outlook Afghanistan) Afghan officials have constantlyreiterated that regional stakeholders carry heavy weight in Afghanistan's peaceprocess and could nudge the Taliban to come to the table with the Afghangovernment.
The seventh round of meeting between theUS and the Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar's capital, and theintra-Afghan dialogue generated optimism as political officials believed thatAfghanistan had been very close to peace.
Subsequent to the latest round of talks,China, Russia, and the US, along with Pakistani representatives, held theirthird consultation on the Afghan peace process in Beijing. The four sidesdiscussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and joint efforts for realizinga political settlement to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan andbeyond. They also emphasized the significance of the trilateral consensus andthe country's peace process held in Moscow in April. They further welcomedintra-Afghan meetings held in Moscow and Doha.
The four sides said the talks should be'Afghan-owned and 'Afghan-led and urged all parties to take steps to reduceviolence, which would lead to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire.
The four states are heavyweightstakeholders in Afghanistan's peace process. The US has discussed peace processwith the Taliban and made strides in this regard. To show its seriousness,Washington discussed troop withdrawal from Afghanistan – also reduced thenumber of its soldiers. Hence, the US troop pullout is in the agenda of theUS-Taliban negotiations if the two sides reach an agreement.
Pakistan is also one of the heavyweightsand will be able to nudge the Taliban to peace table with the Kabul government.Islamabad released the Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar to supportthe US-Taliban talks. Believing in the essential role of Pakistan, Afghanofficials have constantly urged her to engage in Afghanistan reconciliationprocess and use her leverage to broker intra-Afghan dialogue.
Russia also has leverage on the Talibansince she hosted intra-Afghan dialogues seeking to open talks parallel to thoseof the US. However, neither the Afghan government nor the US was interested inMoscow's individual struggle for Afghanistan peace process. Meanwhile,political pundits believed that it would mar the peace process and bestowinternational credibility to the Taliban. But Moscow's push for intra-Afghandialogue in the frame of the four-side meeting will be productive and theAfghan government and regional stakeholders will appreciate such an engagement.
China, which has a close tie withPakistan, tried to bring Kabul and Islamabad closer and also play a constructiverole in Afghanistan peace process. Beijing has always reiterated its support to'Afghan-led and 'Afghan-owned peace talks. Being a strong contributor toglobal peace and prosperity, China is ready to play a constructive role inAfghanistan peace process. China has also been an active member of theQuadrilateral Coordination Group, consists of US, China, Pakistan, andAfghanistan.
The recent four-side meeting in Beijingcreates hope that regional consensus will be formed for the intra-Afghandialogue, which has been considered highly essential for fruitful talks andurged by political pundits since the beginning.
It is self-explanatory that collectiveefforts will be more fruitful than those of individual. That is, if regionalstates open talks with the Taliban individually and without consultation withthe Afghan government, it will not bear the desired result and the situationwill be rather complicated. Therefore, regional stakeholders have to continuetheir collective efforts to broker intra-Afghan dialogue and support therelevant parties to end the conflict. In short, the collective efforts ofregional and global states, including the US, Russia, China, Germany, Pakistan,and Qatar, are highly significant. The more countries put their weight behindthe peace process, the more productive peace talks will be. Since a peacefuland stable Afghanistan will be in the interests of the region, regional stateshave to engage constructively in the process.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government andpolitical factions have to form an inclusive national consensus. Heads ofpolitical parties and jihadi leaders have to support the government's stance onpeace talks. Hence, selective approach, as some Afghan politicians haveadopted, towards peace talks will neither lead to peace and nor be acceptableto Afghan nation. If political figures really pursue national interests, theyhave to stand with the government.
To pursue fruitful peace process, formingregional and national consensus is highly essential. Regional and globalstakeholders have to push for intra-Afghan dialogue as well as end of conflict.Both the Afghan government and the Taliban have to hold direct talks to resolvetheir issues before it is too late.