- What is the price of peace?
Once, the German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics, Albert Einstein, said that peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. The peace negotiations between the USA and the Taliban started in 2018, but the chances of their success were rated low perhaps by both the parties.
The Deputy Leader Of the Taliban, Sirajuddin Haqqan,i wrote an important article for The New York Times about the Afghan Peace Process Agreement ,supporting the peace process. The article has many things to reflect on. The said agreement would most probably be concluded on February 29 (today). But this process was not easy, especially when there were disruptions in the peace process either by President Trump and his Administration or because the Taliban’s uncompromising attitude on certain points. Although, Pakistan made a remarkable mark by facilitating the process for the betterment of Afghanistan, herself and particularly peace of the entire region. The exit of US troops from Afghanistan after the loss of 3500 US and allied troops is good news for the USA, and particularly for all the inhabitants of this region and it also points towards a new situation in the region. Pakistan must be ready for this new situation. It would be more accurate to say that Pakistan must prepare herself for this new important revolution.
A while ago there was a perception that experts used to say that they did not know when this war would end, but now one thing is for sure, that sooner or later Americans are going back, leaving all the débris of the war at the door of Pakistan. Another opinion is that everything will return to the status quo once the US election is over. Sometimes it seems that peace in Afghanistan is a wild goose chase But, now all must Keep fingers crossed
Afghanistan is a tough country and all its invaders now must understand that both the USSR and he USA were remained unable to achieve what they had intended with their respective interventions, or to use a common phrase, it can be said that Afghanistan really proved herself the graveyard of empires. Pakistan plunged into the USA’s war but only gained an attitude of dissatisfaction from it. Mistakes were made by the immature Pakistani political and administrative elite. Moreover, Pakistan was made unable to realize the real consequences of nurturing unintellectual thoughts then. The so-called thought of jihad was not born in Pakistan. Pakistani governments were of the view that they were exploiting the USA but instead of this, Pakistan was being exploited by the USA for its specific motives. The USA wanted to humiliate and defeat the then Soviet Union, which suffered demise after it withdrew from Afghanistan and thus its purpose was achieved, but the USA also involved herself in the fire of Afghan war. However, what did Pakistan achieve by getting into the fire of Afghanistan, only on the other’s say-so, other than the loss of 75,000 Pakistani lives and economic debacle? The Soviets already were very weak and their economy was also tottering at that time. The Soviets also made a mistake by going into Afghanistan and it proved a quagmire for them. But, the 9/11 incident reminded the USA that if things are made difficult for others, most of the time they blow back.
Now, it is difficult to imagine who is the winner or loser, but it is quite clear that the USA did not win the war. Pakistan sustained the cost of managing the Taliban. Barring a few exceptions, very few countries will openly criticize the arrangement where the Taliban are participants after the settlement. The Taliban are a tough nut to crack. It is only a marriage of convenience, each party has a separate agenda, without any convergence of import. Liberals vehemently think that the Taliban are not built for peace, that they are religious dictators, and the enemies of peace and freedom.
While Afghans are Pukhtuns and are the largest ethnic group, it is highly unlikely that they represent a majority. They are brave and they proved it by the steadiness of their fight for 18 years against the USA and a total of 41 years if one includes the fighting against the USSR.
When the USA invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban shifted to the tribal areas of Pakistan and made their hideouts in these areas, and when the USA pressurized the Musharraf government, Pakistan had to start operations against these militants in the tribal areas without any specific preparation. So, Pakistan faced a wave of anger from these militants in the form of the worst incidents terrorism incidents, including suicide bomb attacks all across the country. Both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban targeted Pakistan and hence, Pakistan was called the international centre of terrorism. The internal security of Pakistan was so threatened that after the 2014 Peshawar Army Public School attack, the Army and political leadership decided to fight back against this terrorism. The operation was started in FATA which actually defeated terrorism at large and the militants of the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan had to flee to Afghanistan. Now, the USA is leaving Afghanistan but a complete withdrawal of US forces will not occur, and it should not be done immediately but a step-by-step withdrawal would be beneficial for both the parties.
The Taliban and the USA both are on good terms so far, which is very beneficial for the peace and bright future of Pakistan. If there is peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan would prosper easily without any external threat from the Afghan side. Pakistan must establish good relations with Afghanistan and trade must be the priority of Pakistan. Pakistan has already lifted a lot of the burdens of Afghanistan, especially in the form of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Till date, 2.7 million Afghan refugees have been hosted by Pakistan. United Nations Secretary General António Guterres also praised the hospitality of Pakistan in hosting the refugees. Intra-Afghan talks and negotiations are important and peace settlements are essential. Unless all stakeholders, including local leaders and countries, are involved, there can never be any peace in Afghanistan.
This is an example in the realm of adjudication of the tautological dichotomy of Isaac’s or Ismail’s sacrificial hypothesis in the continuum. Fools are born every day to go to heaven after death to defend the myth as to who is right. This makes cents for charlatans to lead and die last in luxury, but makes no sense whatsoever! Keep hope alive!
A while ago there was a perception that experts used to say that they did not know when this war would end, but now one thing is for sure, that sooner or later Americans are going back, leaving all the débris of the war at the door of Pakistan. Another opinion is that everything will return to the status quo once the US election is over.
Sometimes it seems that peace in Afghanistan is a wild goose chase But, now all must Keep fingers crossed.
Dr.Zeeshan Khan is an analyst, political commentator and contributor to the Op-Ed pages of different newspapers in Pakistan.
Email: [email protected]