Experts weigh in on Afghanistan, call for peace

Believe seizure of Kabul reflected wide acceptance for Taliban among Afghan people


Our Correspondent August 23, 2021
A general view of green zone in Kabul, Afghanistan March 13, 2019. PHOTO REUTERS

ISLAMABAD:

Experts from Pakistan, Turkey and Iran on Saturday laid stress on the formation of "a rationally inclusive government" in Kabul, saying it was the only way forward to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region in general.

Speaking at a webinar titled 'Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Challenges for the Region', organised by Development Communications Network and DTN, panelists observed that the Taliban's new "rational and mature" approach was a welcome sign.

The experts were largely of the view that the swift seizure of Kabul by the Taliban reflected the wide acceptance and approval for the group among Afghan people.

However, some expressed doubts whether the smooth sailing through all the parts could have been planned by some "external forces" to create chaos in the region against China’s aggressive economic moves.

The key experts included chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defense Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, geopolitical analyst and former ISI chief Lt Gen rtd Asad Durrani, Director of Middle Eastern Studies Center (ORSAM) in Ankara and professor of Political Sociology in Istanbul University Prof. Dr. Ahmet Uysal, Director South Asian Studies at Tehran International Studies and Research Institute Dr. Somaye Morovati, and chief executive officer Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KP BIOT) Hassan Daud Butt.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the US squandered a huge amount of $6.4 trillion on its so-called "war on terror". Yet, he added, the investments could not build a strong defence in Afghanistan.
He urged the countries in the region to formulate a joint regional policy.

Lt. General (retd) Muhammad Asad Durrani said that the spillover of Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan had been foreseen in Islamabad, pointing out that the group had actually won the negotiations but was waiting for the moment.

"It seems that the US has intentionally provided the Taliban an opportunity to take over and lead to a civil war in Afghanistan," Durrani said, stressing that a consensus between the Afghan tribes would play a significant role for the future of the country.

Commenting on what the wrapping up of the two-decades war held for the regional countries, Dr. Uysal said that Pakistan, China and Russia had emerged as the main winners as they benefited the most in terms of geopolitics.

“Pakistan won because they supported the resistance against American invasion and secured its northern borders. Now the winners and others shall contribute to the stability and development in Afghanistan because the West will probably try to ignite chaos in the region to mainly stop Chinese expansion. Turkey can help Afghanistan to gain legitimacy in the diplomatic field and tone down their discourse.”

Dr Somaye Morovati opined that Taliban in 2021 are not the same as they were in the 1990s, and are more dangerous. Their influence would spill over to other countries in the region while future prospects of Afghanistan remain uncertain. It would have adverse consequences as the Taliban have declared the formation of “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” on Thursday.

The neighbouring countries shall find a way for coordinating closely to facilitate a smooth transition in Afghanistan for regional stability.

Hassan Daud Butt said the peace in Afghanistan can be achieved through development where the Belt and Road Initiative can be instrumental. Pakistan and Afghanistan can leverage its natural endowment to attract investment in the mining, energy and agriculture sector.

China was engaged in regional development and integration through BRI and supporting infrastructure development including hospitals, roads, bridges and railways while the US was engaged in war in Afghanistan.

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