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Price of peace


Anil Kumar

Since human evolution wars have been cost-effective to wage because it needed only weapons and courage. Eruption of conflicts even today takes minutes to hours to start, declaration of war in some countries, even in democracies, does not require parliament’s approval. Nevertheless, it takes years and decades, if not centuries, to conclude that discordance in shape of peace. Meanwhile, the war has consumed uncounted economic resources, lives of combatants and civilian population, infrastructure, food supplies and future of many children.
Much-awaited peace in Afghanistan is case in point. The US started its first phase of military campaign along with NATO members in December in the wake of post 9/11 attack in Washington, less than one month period to declare war on Afghanistan. More than 19 years have been elapsed the peace in Afghanistan is yet unseen. All stakeholders are attempting unbridled to make this land free from strife but price of peace is skyrocketing over time. Although a peace deal was signed between Trump Administration and Taliban faction on 29 February, 2020 to end the conflict, the deal has still not successfully brought a desirous outcome.
There is myriad of reasons behind this unachievable tranquility. First, the deal was erroneous in respect of its timing, swiftness and most importantly all stakeholders were not involved in the parley, especially the Afghan government. Second, release of prisoners including in the deal delayed the Intra-Afghan Dialogue. Third, political instability in the country brought a lot of uncertainty that who would join the talks and which is legitimate government. Fourth, the problem of future constitution and type of government was greater setback in post-deal scenario. The US wants republican democracy whereas Taliban attempt to govern through Sharia. Fifth and most important that hinders overall peace process is continual violence by Taliban and their demand of withdrawal of foreign forces from the territory till May 1, 2021.
All these are the key lapses that make peace very costly and conflict inexpensive. Civilians are still being targeted as violence is the principal pressure-driven force of the Taliban to get their demands acceded to. In these attacks many innocent people including women, kids, senior citizens and advocator of peace lost their lives. The peace in Afghanistan, according to Taliban, is possible once foreign forces withdraw from the war-ravaged country.
Notwithstanding, peace must be given a chance. All stakeholders need to play their precious part to make the war-torn country a peaceful region. A heavy responsibility falls on the shoulder of US to bring two factions, the Taliban and the ruling government, on the table as dialogue is to happen on 24th April, 2021. The Taliban, however, show resistance to attend the meeting until US withdraws forces. Latter requires to play its diplomatic channel to appease the former. Apart from that, the Taliban should change their behavior for genuine Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace.
Other countries including Russia and China has shown great interest to resolve extended peace. Russia, for instance, has adopted positive policy approach toward the country in general and ongoing conflict in particular. The country earlier initiated ‘Moscow Format’ and later ‘Four Party Talks’ for settlement of Afghan issue. Similarly, China prioritizes the end of terrorism from Afghanistan to cease the terrorist outfits in western China. Pakistan is the most beneficiary of Afghan peace. The country needs to continue its effort to facilitate the peace process till the end. All these countries should join each other’s hand for permanent solution of Afghan conflict.
After the roles of all foreign states, peace in unachievable if internal conditions of Afghanistan are unstable. All factions must give water to new plant of tranquility in the country. Peace does not come automatically, it demands sacrifices of opinionated, adamantinomas and personal whim.
The noble laureate Abiy Ahmed, the leader of Ethiopia, once said after resolving the long-drawn conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea that ‘peace is very expensive in my country’. Surely, peace is high-end. But it brings fruitful results. In Afghanistan, therefore, peace must be brought at any price for regional as well as global peace in the most ever connected world.