Peace process in Afghanistan: the Road is Tortuous and the Future is Bright

Huang Dekai & Cao Fengning

Although in the early morning of the 9th of this month, the convoy of Afghan first Vice President Ali Abdullah Saleh was suddenly attacked in an explosion, although President Saleh survived from the attack,10 casualties were generated in this attack and 16 others were injured. Many houses were destroyed in the attack. Affected by the deteriorating security situation, the development in Afghanistan is handicapped. At the same time, successive terrorist attacks have once again cast a shield over the dawning peace of Afghanistan, highlighting that the way to peace in Afghanistan is far from easy..
This round of peace talk is a part of an agreement reached between the United States and the Taliban in February, 2020. But it had been a way of arduous retreats. The talk was originally scheduled for March, but as the two sides had been failing to reach a consensus on exchanging of prisoners of war. Representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban will hold the talk in Qatar, hoping to bring an end to conflict in the country for more than 20 years. Prior to this talk, the two parties in Afghanistan had released goodwill to each other by agreeing on a temporary truce and releasing prisoners so as to ensure peace progress. They are endeavoring to forge a key measure to mutual trust, internal dialogue and thrust to peace and stability of Afghanistan. For example, the Loya Jirga was convened on 7, August of the year to on the issue of releasing 400 Taliban detainees accused of serious crimes and a consensus had been achieved. On 3, September, 2020, the Office of the Afghan National Security Council (ONSC) announced that the prisoner exchange procedure with Taliban had been completed, laying the way to the long-awaited intra-Afghan talk.
The way to Afghanistan peace had been difficult and tortuous, but the parties attending peace negotiations have harshly condemned such a serious incident in Afghanistan. In a statement, the Afghan presidential palace condemned the attack on first vice president’s convoy and said that such attacks would not weaken the strong will of the Afghanistans’ pursuit to peace and that Afghan security and defense forces will firmly continue to combat terrorism. Abdullah, chairman of the Afghan National Reconciliation Commission, issued a statement condemning the attack and called for serious investigation. European Union, NATO, the United Nations and other international organizations in Afghanistan have also fiercely blamed the attack and expressed their support to the peace progress of Afghanistan.
Truce, violence and peace are the greatest aspirations of the Afghan people. However, the divergence of interests of all parties in Afghanistan has led to further fragmentation of domestic politics, and the security situation in Afghanistan remains fragile. Clashes between Taliban and Afghan security forces are frequently occurring, and Islamic States has launched rounds of terrorist attacks, causing large number of civilian casualties. After years of war, the trust between Afghan government and Taliban is very fragile. Currently, there still exist great disputes between the two sides in value systems, release of prisoners and the choice of political systems. In addition to Afghan government and Taliban, Islamic State is increasingly active in the country, carrying out attacks and have controlled considerable parts of the country, weighing uncertainty to the peace progress for the country. They are trying to undermine the peace process of Afghanistan.
Peace is the aspiration of the Afghan people, and lasting peace and stable development in Afghanistan requires joint support and efforts of all parties in the international community. At present, the international community has been mediating on producing conditions for peace of Afghanistan by resolving their hostility, On the other hand, they have been exerting pressure on these stakeholders to change their strategies and effectively reduce acts of violence. The international community should continue to support the peace and reconciliation progress of Afghanistan and effectively remove external obstacles to the process. The process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan is in a critical period, and all parties need to make sincere efforts to this end. As an adjacent neighbor and sincere friend of Afghanistan, China has always paid close attention to the situation in Afghanistan and has been committed to promoting the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. China has always maintained close contacts and communication with relevant parties involved in Afghanistan. We support the Afghan government and its people in combating terrorism, safeguarding national stability and the people’s security, and look forward to realization of peace, stability, development and prosperity in Afghanistan.
Actually, Afghanistan is rich in geostrategic location and mineral resources. It has great potential for future development. Geopolitically, Afghanistan is connected with China in the east, the Indian Ocean in South Asia in the south, it extends to the oil-producing region in the west and Russia in Central Asia in the north. it is located in the overlap and key position of great power diplomatic strategies such as China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ construction, US global strategy, Russia’s Eurasian strategy and India’s westward strategy. At the same time, its rich mineral resources have become an important basis for the future development of Afghanistan. For prosperity and development of Afghanistan, political reconciliation and national stability of the country, this is the top priority for Afghanistan.

(Huang Dekai & Cao Fengning,Both Scholars of Sichuan Police College)