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Turkey could mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] S [/yt_dropcap]outh Asia has been causing tension for the people of the region owing to Indo-Pakistani nuclear rivalries and occasional cross fire confrontations. Kashmiris whose nation is being occupied by three powers- India, Pakistan and China- are the worst affected people of the region. UN and world powers do not care about the brutality unleashed by India in Kashmir, targeting the Muslims.

Kashmiris are treated by Indian terror forces like cattle and they killed just like that even for fun. Kashmiris are agitating against Indian brutalities and regular murders of Kashmiris by India. India indirectly says it has the prerogative to kill Kashmiri Muslims to keep Indian Hindus in good humors.

Under the circumstances of free will of Indian forces to murder and chase the Muslims Kashmir, Turkey has shown as the Islamist nation it has the duty to care for Kashmiris, just like it cares for Palestinians and for whose cause it antagonized even its military ally Israel and it major ally USA.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Pakistan on November 23 for an official visit for two days to strengthen bilateral ties. President Erdoğan will go Uzbekistan Thursday.

President Erdoğan held official talks with President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and addressed the National Assembly of Pakistan in a joint session. The president also attended a meeting with businesspeople and Prime Minister Sharif and will visit Lahore afterwards. Erdoğan will fly to Uzbekistan today and hold official talks with interim President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and discuss regional and international developments with him. Presidential sources highlighted that Erdoğan’s visit aims to develop and further strengthen relations and cooperation with both countries. The president will return to Turkey on Saturday.

India does not allow any mediatory efforts by big powers to end tensions in South Asia, being perpetrated by Indo-Pakistani cross fires essentially to terrorize the Kashmiris.

It is pleasant news that while in Turkey Turkish president has expressed desire to mediate between the nuclear foes India and Pakistan and save the reaming Kashmiris, besieged between the two south Asian military powers that occupy and control Kashmiris and their nation called Jammu Kashmir.

India and Pakistan share neighboring Jammu Kashmir illegally and cause immeasurable agonies to Kashmiri Muslims. While Pakistan has repeatedly sought the UN intervention to diffuse tension between two nuclear neighbors, India, following the footsteps of its strategic partner Israel occupying Palestine territories, opposes any “outside intervention” in Kashmir issue.

Caving into Indian pressure and money tactics, both USA and Russia have remained silent spectators for too long, scratching their own backs and watching Indian military-intelligence atrocities in Kashmir, already killing over 100, 000 Kashmiris, mostly Muslims. They have no sympathy for the Kashmiris being murdered by Indian military forces day in and day out.

The atrocities perpetrated by New Delhi bosses to stifle freedom seeking Kashmiri voice is very much afloat in the international domain even as Kashmiris protest Indian occupational techniques with extra military powers, granted by India on the advice of Israel. In order get closer to USA, India buys terror goods even from Israel to “deal” with Kashmir Muslims.

India is pursuing regressive policies in Kashmir, and fanatic approach in India making H9indutva religion the central point of the government and media. That would boomerang. Indian rulers now must abhor component of Hindutva religion-linked politics and behave like statesmen rather than petty politicians taking a regressive path, undoing what Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of a better free India.

The views of Turkish strongman Erdogan, who crushed the coup attempt by the military backed, among others, by American intelligence, signifying a complete collapse of Turkish security and intelligence apparatus, have upset India and its media lords. The desire to mediate was expressed by President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited Pakistan recently at the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and both the leaders were buoyant with the visit.

India seeking to retain Kashmir as occupation nation, is worried that Erdogan was given the honor of addressing Pakistan’s joint session of parliament, though it was not, however, Erdogan’s maiden address. India and its pretending allies are unhappy about President Erdogan’s mediatory attempt and his indiscreet, imprudent rhetoric and remarks on the occupation status of Kashmir. He grieved for the pathetic fate of Kashmiris and said: “our brothers and sisters in Kashmir are suffering because of the escalating tension along the LoC and Kashmir, which can no longer be ignored. The Kashmir issue needs to find a solution.” India does not that approach of Turkey and wants it, like Israel seeks, obviously wants Turkey and all other countries to support Indian cause of occupational crimes and genocides in Kashmir.

Erdogan offered to mediate, claiming to be possessed with great mediation skills, bragging further to have effectively mediated to deal with the Kurdish problem.

Turkey is supporting Pakistan for its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Both the countries have a Free Trade Agreement aiming to raise bilateral trade volume to $10 billion. Further, there are strong defense ties between the two countries which includes joint naval exercises. Pakistan is upbeat on Erdogan’s stand in holding a plebiscite under the UN to decide Kashmir’s intention to join Pakistan. PoK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider expressed profound gratitude to Erdogan for supporting Pakistan on Kashmir. Haider felt the visiting dignitary’s statement is a morale booster for the PoK. Haider must know this excitement and euphoria are short lived and likely to be forgotten very soon.

India breathlessly repeats that Kashmir is very much an “integral part of India” and said that Turkey playing ball with Pakistan on this sensitive issue will backfire .

USA, Russia and Germany now use Turkey for tactical reasons, to deal with ISIS cadres, seeking to jointly kill Muslims and end Islam. India also supports that horrid agenda by targeting Muslims indoors like Naik who is being officially harassed by the Hindu regime its anti-Islamic media lords for propagating Islam in Hindu India and in Jammu Kashmir where Muslims constitute the majority. .

As usual customary to all visiting dignitaries to New Delhi, India has advised Turkey as well as Pakistan to stop talking about Indian part of Jammu Kashmir as it is a “settled matter” by New Delhi and not to harp the old tune on Kashmir because it is a sheer wastage of time.

Turkey has an embassy in Islamabad, a Consulate-General in Karachi and honorary consulates in Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot and Faisalabad. As of 2016, in a joint communique, Pakistan and Turkey plan to strengthen their close ties into a “strategic partnership”. Pakistan has an embassy in Ankara, a Consulate-General in Istanbul and an honorary consulate in Izmir

Turkey established diplomatic relations soon after the independence of Pakistan in 1947 and bilateral relations became increasingly close owing to cultural, religious and geopolitical links between the two countries. Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah expressed admiration for Turkey’s founding leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and also a desire to develop Pakistan on the Turkish model of modernism. Similarly Pakistan would follow the footstep of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal to develop a modern Islamic Pakistan and all other so called ism are rejected by people of Pakistan. Similar ideas were expressed by the former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, who grew up in Turkey and had received extensive military training there.[16][17][18] Jinnah is honored as a great leader in Turkey, and a major road of the Turkish capital Ankara, the Cinnah Caddesi is named after him, while roads in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Larkana are named after Atatürk. On 26 October 2009, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was awarded the Nishan-e-Pakistan and was the fourth world leader who spoke to the Pakistani parliament. Erdoğan said that Pakistan had always occupied a special place in the hearts and minds of the Turkish government and people.

Relations date back generations before the establishment of the two states, more precisely during the Turkish War of Independence when the Muslims of the northwestern British Raj sent financial aid to the declining Ottoman Empire which was followed by the formation of the Turkish Republic. Pakistan and Turkey enjoy close cultural, historical and military relations which are now expanding into deepening economic relations as both countries seek to develop their economies. Turkey supports Pakistan’s position of holding a plebiscite under the UN to decide if Kashmir wants to join Pakistan, a position which Turkish President Erdogan reaffirmed in a joint address to the Pakistani parliament and which was attended by Pakistan’s military high command. Turkey supports Pakistan’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Turkey and Pakistan enjoy close relations during both democratic and military regimes, reflecting the depth of the relations between the two nations. Ties which had historically remained close on nationalist and cultural grounds further deepened under President Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted political approach, as he termed Pakistan “home away from home”. He became the only foreign leader to address Pakistan’s Parliament, the National Assembly more than once, doing so a record three times. As of 2016, President Erdogan has visited Pakistan 7 times, domestic politics also spillover, infamously Fethullah Gulen linked officers leaked tapes alleging corruption and arrested Erdogan’s close aides, while Erdogan was on a trip to Pakistan, Erdogan accused the hypocritic Gulenists of sabotage while representing Turkey in a friendly nation. Gulen-linked schools are under pressure to close and teachers have had their visas turned down at the behest of the Turkish government since the attempted coup, an indicator of Pakistan’s close ties to the Turkish government.

As a result, Pakistan and Pakistanis have enjoyed a positive perception in Turkey and amongst Turks for many decades. The two nations are in the process of strengthening economic relations with a Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement aiming to raise bilateral trade volume to $10 billion by 2020Turkey and Pakistan have a strong defence relationship consisting of joint exercises and a substantial portion of the Pakistan Navy’s fleet consisting of joint Pakistan-Turkish naval ships such as fleet tankers and fast attack craft Pakistan supports the Turkish position on Cyprus, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as such Pakistan has no diplomatic relations with Armenia, with Turkey supporting Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir dispute including alleged human rights violations of Muslims in Indian-administered Kashmir. As a result the two countries have enjoyed strong military and diplomatic relations which is now strengthening towards economic co-operation.

Both Pakistan and Turkey are mutually influenced by Arab, Turko-Mongol and Persian cultures. The region of Anatolia in Central and Eastern Turkey was occupied multiple times by Persian Empires which has brought Persian cultural and linguistic influence since ancient times

Many Muslim nations are under brutal occupation by US led NATO, Israel and India. Arab world was the target of the so-called Arab Spring, while Israel took special care of itself as the anti-Islamic forces are focused on Israel. Iran survived as the Shiite government did not let their nation to be ransacked by “revolutions” spearheading Mideast. Then the anti-Islamic forces worked very secretly to kill President Erdogan of Turkey and destabilize Turkey though a coup but fortunately that scheme failed. Entire anti-Islamic world is obviously unhappy that Turkey survived the coup effort sponsored by the USA-EU duo to weaken Turkey, former Ottoman Empire and undo Islamist foundations there.

Both USA and Israel are angry with Turkey for organizing the aidship to breach Israeli iron control of Gaza strip. Although Israel has made strenuous efforts to patch up with Turkey, the relations have remained very low due mainly to hatred for Israel in Turkish society.

Turkey has the heart, will and means to mediate between India and Pakistan and help Kashmiris regain their lost nation – Jammu Kashmir and could successfully mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir! USA, China and Russia also join Turkey to help Kashmiris build their own home- Kashmir.

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South Asia

Breaking Down the South Asian Dynamic: Post Pulwama attack & Saudi Prince’s visit

Uzge A. Saleem

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The political and strategic activities of the South Asian region have been on a high for the past week or so. The region faced a very unfortunate incident on 14th February, 2019 when 40 Indian soldiers were killed in an attack in Pulwama, India. The already torn region of Kashmir faced yet another blow and has been in turmoil since the attack. The 14th February attack somehow translated into more violence against the innocent civilians of Kashmir. Not only Kashmir but other cities of India have also been actively involved in hate crimes against Muslims, particularly Kashmiri students. BBC news reported the violence against students from Kashmir in various universities across the country and how they were being thrown out of their residences.

The attack has been condemned by all alike, however, the Indian nation has assumed Pakistan to be behind the attack. The Prime Minister Nirendra Modi has given his two cents on the matter and his words seem to be clearly motivated by his desire to cash this unfortunate incident for a win in the upcoming Indian general elections. India’s highest Diplomat in Pakistan has also been called back and the action has been reciprocated by Pakistan as well. As we break down the current rush of hostilities between the two nuclear neighbors there are mainly two theories revolving around. The Indian theory is short and bitter, it claims Pakistan is responsible because it is an irresponsible state that provides safe havens to terrorists. The group linked to this attack has also been declared close to Pakistan’s agencies on many occasions. The theory is evidently childish and sounds like it is being repeated for the 100th time with no solid proof or credible information yet again. The mere allegations have brought no good but unfortunately India’s higher names are set on fueling the age old fire for their petty gains.

We have a theory from Pakistan’s side as well. Although it is not an official theory nor has it been discussed by any of the higher leaderships publicly but it is nonetheless doing the rounds in the policy circles. It claims Indian officials themselves were involved in not only the Pulwama attack but the less spoken of, Iran attack as well. Both the attack were significantly close to Pakistan’s Eastern and Western borders. This is something the state of Pakistan would not bring upon itself at such a crucial time when the security situation of the state was desired to be at its best for the arrival of the Saudi crown prince, Muhammad Bin Salman. The visit was not only a remarkably significant diplomatic achievement for Pakistan but was also very significant for the South Asian region and Muslim countries around the globe. In times like this when the state of Pakistan was consumed in making preparations for the arrival of the Prince it would be a rather immature strategic move to involve itself in something so disastrous and fragile at the same time. However, some believe Indian officials planned this to create unrest in the region as an attempt to halt the Prince’s visit.

The visit, however, took place anyway and was a rather successful one. Not only were MoU’s signed between the leadership of Pakistan and the Royalty of Saudi Arabia but mechanisms to implement the MoU’s were also chalked out. The spontaneous release of 2107 Pakistani prisoners from Saudi prisons n the request of Pakistan’s prime minister was a clear show of the blooming Saudi-Pak relations. It not only took the friendship and trust between the two nations to new heights but created a new sense of love and respect for the Prince amongst the general public of Pakistan which has not been seen so evidently before. The prince being awarded with the highest civil award of Pakistan marks the utmost success of the visit which did not settle well with many of the self-proclaimed key players of the region.

The prince has plans to visit India as well where it is expected that peace between India and Pakistan would be suggested as a key desire. It can also be expected that India’s leadership would take this opportunity to trade peace in return of other favors from the Saudi delegation. Regardless of the absurd reaction from the neighboring country, Pakistan has remained calm and acted with utmost maturity during the entire blame game. Regardless of knowing very well how capable the Pakistani army is, the state has made no loose remarks and has also recorded its reservations against India’s escalating remarks in a letter penned down by the Foreign Minister of Pakistan to the General Secretary of the United Nations. Pakistan always has, still does and always will promote peace and prosperity in the region.

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The Pulwama Attack and India’s rhetoric

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The Attack which occurred in the Pulwama District of Jammu and Kasmir was indeed a horrific event. The attack took place on India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The suicide bomber triggered the car bomb while 78 vehicles with over 2,500 CRPF men were on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway. Pakistan’s Foreign Office was quick to condemn this unfortunate event. According to the statement released the attack occurring in Pulwama District was a matter of grave concern.

India was however very quick at pointing fingers towards Pakistan. Within an hour or so of the incident, while even the basic on-site investigations weren’t completed, India blamed Pakistan for the Pulwama Attack. Pakistan’s Foreign Office rejected any claim linking the attack to Pakistan without proper investigations. The Pulwama attack no doubt is a tragedy, but the way the attack unfolded and India’s knee-jerk reaction has raised quite a lot of doubts and questions in Pakistan, India as well as the international community.

Questions Pakistan asks

First of all, on what pretext did the Indian authorities blame the Pakistani State for the attack? The suicide bomber named Adil Ahmed Dar was a native Kashmiri, the car used in the Suicide attack was a Mahindra Scorpio (non-existent in Pakistan). How can Indian authorities deduce Pakistan’s hand, with this little information, in such a less time?

Secondly, Adil Ahmed Dar has been named as the suicide bomber by the Indian Media. According to the Kashmir Times story published on 9th October 2017, Indian Security forces had apprehended a Kashmiri named Adil Ahmed Dar. The news quoted the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of police for Southern Kashmir, S P Pani that the militants belonged to Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Now, this is conflicting news because Indian media claims the attacker to be from Jaish-e-Muhammad. There are also news reports that the attacker never came back from police custody. Without proper investigation, no one will know whether he escaped from the authorities or he was made to film the confession statement under duress.

Thirdly, Indian authorities have claimed that 350KG of explosives were packed into the car which rammed into the CPRF bus. How 350Kg of explosives could be accumulated in the most heavily militarized regions of the world right under the nose of the heavily armed Indian Army. The stretch on which the incident occurred had been cleared earlier in the morning, and authorities have termed this as a “serious breach” of security. Doesn’t this point to the incompetence of the world’s largest buyer of military hardware?

Lastly, who is the beneficiary of the attack, especially from a timings point of view? The attack happened just a day before Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was due in Islamabad to announce billions of dollars of investment, while on the other hand, Modi wants some political leverage against his opponents. His Pakistan bashing is really popular in his BJP vote bank and this could also be an effort to woo his supporters back to him.

Kashmir: A humanitarian issue

The Kashmir issue has been the bone of contention between the two South-Asian neighbors. It has been the prime reason for hostilities between India and Pakistan. There exists a UN resolution demanding for a plebiscite in Kashmir, for seeking the will of Kashmiri people to weather join Pakistan or Kashmir. India, however, refuses to implement the UN resolution in their true letter and spirit.  Pakistan has been asking India for a dialogue on a peaceful settlement of Kashmir Issue, but India has not only turned down Pakistan’s offers but has kept its heavy-handedness in suppressing the people of Kashmir.

Last year, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report on Kashmir. The report made startling revelations about Indian atrocities in Kashmir. The UN reported the use of pellet-firing shotguns against violent protesters resulting in deaths and serious injuries. Official government figures list 17 people as being killed by pellet injuries between July 2016 and August 2017. In January 2018, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister told the state legislative assembly that 6,221 people had been injured by pellet guns. The Human Rights Watch stated that Indian security forces “assaulted civilians during search operations, tortured and summarily executed detainees in custody and murdered civilians in reprisal attacks”; according to the report, rape was regularly used as a means to “punish and humiliate” communities.

The Pulwama attack is purely a domestic issue and blaming Pakistan is just a way for diverting attention from the Indian Army’s atrocities in Kashmir, its incompetence and the BJPs failures. BJP is facing an election defeat visibly and the upcoming elections could most likely mean an end to Modi’s political career. Fore-seeing his future, he is using the one card which plays in India well “Pakistan Bashing”.

Prime Minister Modi has openly threatened revenge on Pakistan. He has to understand that peace in the region is the ultimate prize. Peace and stability in South Asia is a combined responsibility and that such irresponsible remarks are a direct threat to stability.  The Indian media should also tone down the warmongering and hysteria in their content. In these times when information travels with the speed of light, any misunderstanding could have disastrous effects.

Pakistan has offered India times and again to solve all issues including Jammu and Kashmir through peaceful dialogue. In Pakistan, India-bashing has never been an election slogan. Anti-India fanatics do not come to power and the common people do not buy into their anti-Indian rhetoric. Isn’t it high time for India to shun this pointless and baseless habit of pointing fingers at Pakistan for every wrong which happens inside it, and instead address its internal issues through dialogue, at least this is the way civilized nations resolve their issues?

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What Can the Afghan Government and Taliban Learn from Colombia’s Peace Deal with FARC?

Hamidullah Bamik

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The experience of Colombia’s peace with FARC has always been the subject of Western experts working on the war in Afghanistan due to the characteristics of Afghanistan’s war akin to Colombia’s war.

It is argued that the insurgent movement with a political rivalry to mobilize dissenters to enter the community is a substitute order that rebels attempt to fundamentally change the infrastructure of society. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Afghan Taliban insurgents can be put into such socio-political context.

The FARC, with the full name of Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (in Spanish was formed in the 1960s as the armed wing of the Communist Party of Colombia. The FARC officially separated from the Communist Party of Colombia in 1980 but continued its guerrilla war against the Colombian government. The war between FARC and the Government of the Republic of Colombia lasted 55 years and left dead approximately 250,000 people.

Colombia’s Peace Process

The Government of the Republic of Colombia has made three major and important attempts to build peace in the last thirty years, especially in the mid-1980s and late 1990s, but all failed. But peace efforts that began in Havana, the capital of Cuba in 2012, came to fruition five years later. Ultimately, these efforts effectuated in to the signing of a peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC on November 24, 2016.

The Colombia’s peace agreement with FARC was rejected by less than one percent in a referendum on October 2, 2016. The results of the referendum showed that 50.2 percent of voters opposed the agreement. But later, many Colombians who were anti-FARC rebels became their supporters. To strengthen further the peace and stability in Colombia, the Colombian government allocated 10 seats to FARC in 2018 and 2022 in the Colombia’s Congress elections.

The success of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of Colombia and FARC is derived from their mutual agreement on key issues. First, they reached a reciprocal agreement on development of rural areas, especially those areas that were damaged more than other areas during the conflict. Second, they talked about the elimination of drugs and reducing high poverty rates in the peace process and agreed mutually. Third, the Government of the Republic of Colombia concurred with political participation of FARC members in the political process. Hence, they could successfully end their chronic conflicts that took many Colombians’ lives.

Afghanistan’s Peace Process

In November 2001, the Taliban regime was overthrown entirely by the United Nation forces led by the US. Subsequently, the Afghan government and the international community stepped up their efforts to support various plans to undermine the expansion of insurgents and ultimately bring them to the peace process. These efforts include programs such as Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR 2003-2006), United Nation supported Afghanistan New Beginning Programs (ANBP) and its successor the Disbandment of Illegal Armed Groups (DIAG 2005.

When US President Barack Hussein Obama put forward the idea of looking for moderate elements among the insurgent groups in March 2009, the official peace talks in Afghanistan became more important. Unfortunately, all the above peace efforts have not been effective in stabilizing Afghanistan and failed to pursue a meaningful engagement of the involved countries in Afghanistan’s war in the peace process.

Recently, the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan declared two truces with the Taliban to encourage them to join the peace process. But unluckily, the Taliban groups not only did not welcome the Afghan government’s ceasefire, except the first truce but also responded with atrocity and intensifying their insurgency. Political experts are inclined to argue that the experiences of the Colombian government’s peace deal with FARC insurgents can aid Afghanistan in reaching a permanent peace deal with the Taliban groups.

The Similarities of Afghanistan’s and Colombia’s War

According to Foreign Policy, the current Afghan war is reminiscent of the Drug War in Colombia and requires a Colombian plan for its termination. The insurgency in Afghanistan is nurtured by an ideological war that is being conducted to bring Afghans under the banner of religion. Conversely, in Colombia, FACR fought with the central government for lucrative sources of money and ways to smuggle drugs. However, it is argued that despite having ideological roots, narcotics is the main financial source of Afghanistan’s insurgent groups.

In 2016, the Global Witness reported that the warlords and Taliban’s earnings from a small Badakhshan region are equal to the total income of the Afghan government’s natural resources sector. The report adds that in 2014, armed groups from two mining areas of Deodarra in Kuran and Munjan districts in Badakhshan province earned about $20 million. It echoes that the ongoing war between the Taliban and the Afghan government is also a war on controlling natural sources like the war between FARC and the Colombian government. Thus, the experiences of the Government of the Republic of Colombia in its peace talks with FARC can help the Afghan government in its peace talks with the Taliban.

The Afghan Taliban groups like the FARC in Colombia, are dwindling in Afghanistan. They still have their local supporters in Afghanistan. Theo Farrell, the professor and executive dean of law, humanities, and the arts at the University of Wollongong, Australia argues that the availability of social resources and the elements that drive and enable military adaptation were the main reasons of Taliban’s successful resurgence after 2001. It projects that still, Taliban groups have a large number of adherents among the Afghan communities. Undoubtedly, they will support the Taliban if the group joins in peace talks with the Afghan government and forms its political faction as did the FARC in Colombia.

The FARC opened negotiations with the Colombian government after decades of armed conflicts. Many of FARC insurgents like the Taliban groups did not believe in the usefulness of the talkswith the Colombian government at the beginning. But they tested their trust and succeeded in this regard. Likewise, the best option for the Afghan Taliban to put into practice their demands is joining the negotiating table with the Afghan government.

The Colombia’s Peace Process Takeaways for Afghanistan’s Peace Process

Perhaps the most important innovation to come out of Colombia’s peace process has been the inclusion of victims. Delegations of victims from both sides of the conflict were invited to come to Havana to recount their experiences. In other words, the Colombian peace process was the first in the world that included a formal role for victims of the conflict—they got to interact directly with the negotiators. The inclusion of victims gave the Colombian government’s peace process its best chance of success. Likewise, Afghanistan’s government can emulate a similar way to succeeding in the peace process with the Taliban. The Afghan government should invite the representatives of the victims of war to the negotiating table so that they can share their stories and gain confidence that their voices are heard in the peace process. 

Ultimately, the need for a comprehensive and lasting peace in Afghanistan requires creating a national and international consensus on the peace process with the Taliban. This is what Colombian President; Juan Manuel Santos did about peace with the FARC rebels. Initially, a national consensus regarding the peace deal was created inside Colombia. Then the Colombian government reached an international consensus for peace with the neighboring countries, the regional and international powers. Similarly, the Afghan government should reach a unanimous agreement on peace talks with the Taliban inside Afghanistan, then with Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, regional and international powers. Doing so, the Afghan government might be able to close the war and insurgency chapter of Afghanistan’s modern history.

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