Sunday, 30 April 2017

For the first time in over 40 years of conflict, peace talks between the Afghan government and a militant group achieve success

Peace talks between Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) have finally come to fruition after a very long delay, with HIA leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, delivering his first public speech to his supporters in eastern Laghman province. Hekmatyar stressed he has come back home with a message of peace, calling on the Taliban to join the peace process for the interests of people because no one can rule the country by force. Criticizing the neighboring countries for interfering in Afghan affairs, the HIA leader said Afghans themselves have paved the way for such interference. This is the first time in about half of a century of Afghan conflict that peace talks between the government and a militant group end up in success; therefore, it should be welcome regardless of the level of its impact on the situation in the country. As a dawn of peace, the reconciliation of Hekmatyar with the government has been described by most Afghans as a good omen, with the hope that other militants will also follow suit and realize that war is not a solution. Although peace with HIA cannot help reduce the level of violence in the country because of the limited presence of its fighters in the battlefields, it sends several messages. The success of the peace deal proves that the result of any armed conflict is political dialogue. However an armed conflict may last, both sides will come to the conclusion one day to return to the negotiating table. Thus, the earlier the warring sides come to the negotiating table, the more it is in the interests of people and the armed groups that view themselves as political movements. Another message of successful HIA-government peace agreement is that an armed struggle is the worst and most difficult way to accomplish political goals, which also cannot yield the intended results. Instead, all militant and political groups can pursue their goals through legal and logical ways, which are both fruitful and less harmful to people. For peace, the Afghan nation can welcome the return of all militants; therefore, those, including Hekmatyar, joining the peace process should have the morale courage to feel remorse for their past activities, and apologize to the nation.