By Naseerah Nanabhai
Radio Islam recently interviewed the former Pakistan Ambassador to Afghanistan Abrar Hussain. He was asked about his take on the two-day peace talks attended by Afghan delegates and members of the Taliban, particularly whether he sees this as an optimistic step that will lead to something tangible like peace in Afghanistan.
To which he responded, “it is a step in the right direction, you may not call it a dialogue because the other party is leaders from Afghanistan in their personal capacity, hence the negotiations are not with the Afghan government”. These talks promote the point of view from both sides and bring the two sides together.
Abrar highlighted that there are four steps in bringing peace to Afghanistan. Firstly, the withdrawing of foreign troops. Secondly, the assurance from the Taliban that Afghanistan’s file will not be used against other countries. Thirdly, a ceasefire and lastly an inter Afghan dialogue. These are interdependent, an inter Afghan dialogue will involve the Taliban and the Afghan government and the involvement of the Afghan opposition leaders (non- government leaders). The opposition leaders are already speaking to the Taliban, the Taliban has had a chance to explain their view. Thus, the process has already begun.
Abrar was asked if the U.S and NATO forces leave Afghanistan, will the Afghan Government be ready to survive on its own. To which he responded, “ most of the Afghans want an agreement before the troops leave, they want assurance”. But if they withdraw without any agreement, it will most likely lead to a civil war, he pointed out.
He was then asked about the time frames that are prevalent for this to happen, is there any urgency from the UN, Afghan government or Taliban to proceed with the steps. To which he responded, “ there are talks that by September things will be clear and there will be visible progress”.