News / Asia

Opponents of US-Afghan Security Pact Outline Post-War Vision

Afghanistan's former Prime Minister Ahmad Shah Ahamdzai, right, talks with an Afghan delegate as Ghairat Baheer, center, head of political cell Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan listens during a conference title 'Peace and Reconciliation in Afghanistan', in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 28, 2014.
Afghanistan's former Prime Minister Ahmad Shah Ahamdzai, right, talks with an Afghan delegate as Ghairat Baheer, center, head of political cell Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan listens during a conference title 'Peace and Reconciliation in Afghanistan', in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 28, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
After more than 12 years of war, Afghanistan faces a pivotal year as foreign troops prepare to leave. Both supporters and critics of the U.S. presence worry the conflict could worsen in the years ahead, similar to the civil war that engulfed the country following the 1989 departure of Soviet forces.   In Islamabad this week, a group of Afghan and Pakistani elders and militant leaders discussed how to avoid that fate.  
 
The gathering in the heart of the Pakistani capital brought together a group largely opposed to the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. They included Taliban-allied militant groups, political representatives as well as Pakistani religious parties.
 
Many like the spokesman for the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, Shahzada Shahid, recognize some of the gains Afghanistan has made, and do not want to lose them.
 
He said, “the fact is that Afghanistan is not Afghanistan of 12 years ago. Let me tell you that in a very small border town of Kunar [province] we have 500 schools. Similarly, we have almost complete network of paved roads, a state structure in place, we have our own currency, trade.”
 
He said the group does not want to discard those resources after foreign troops leave.
 
Most of those gathered oppose keeping any foreign troops in Afghanistan after 2014.  But they also are of the opinion that civil war is preventable in the post-withdrawal period.  
 
Many here like former Afghan Prime Minister, Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, believe a key to post-war peace is the complete departure of foreign troops.
 
“The foreign forces must withdraw -- no option of being in Afghanistan because we strongly believe as far as the ISAF and American forces are in Afghanistan there will no peace at all. Afghans who are real, sincere followers of jihad they are fighting the invaders those who have invaded our country. Americans, they are the occupiers. This is wrong that they have come to promote democracy and justice and so on. These are all wrong slogans,” said Ahmadzai.
 
Many observers worry that democratic values and support for women’s rights could erode in the coming years. As the country tries to discuss peace with insurgent groups, negotiators are working with people like Ghariat Baheer, spokesman for the Taliban-ally Hizb-e-Islami, who see echoes of the Soviet defeat in the planned U.S. departure.
 
“We support the courageous Afghan president and we pray that he will stick to this principle stand and will avoid signing this BSA accord with the U.S. I am advising my Afghan countrymen as well not to beg for the stay of the Americans in Afghanistan. The Americans have not come to Afghanistan at the invitation of Afghans and they are not leaving Afghanistan at the request of Afghans but they are leaving Afghanistan because of the tough resistance of Afghan mujahideen,” stated Baheer.
 
While such sentiments are widely shared by the Taliban and their allies, there is also broad recognition that Pakistan, where many Taliban top leaders allegedly live, plays a key role in determining Kabul’s future.
 
Shahid of the High Peace Council said in fact the fate of both countries rests on finding a resolution to the Afghan conflict.
 
“Prime Minister [Nawaz] Sharif has promised his people that he will solve the power and economic problems and will bring peace to Pakistan,” he said. “He can achieve these three objectives only when there is peace in Afghanistan. If there is no peace in Afghanistan, perhaps Mr. Sharif may not be able to live up to the expectations of his people.”
 
Pakistani veteran politician Afrasiyab Khattak has long criticized Islamabad’s policy towards Kabul, particularly its military’s ties to warring Afghan factions like the Taliban.
 
He said that Pakistan, Afghanistan as well as the United States need to coordinate their efforts or Afghanistan could repeat its devastating civil war of the 1990s.
 
“Last time when Afghanistan got chaotic it became the hub of international terrorism. This time around there is a real threat of Afghanistan becoming an origin of ethnic earthquakes and these earthquakes can spread in the region like cancer and Pakistan will be affected by it very, very fundamentality. So, I think it is in our best interest to help in stabilizing Afghanistan and befriending Afghanistan not a party, not a group, not a particular school of thought,” Khattak said.
 
Such a broad minded attitude toward Afghanistan’s future would mark a significant break for governments, political parties and insurgent groups who have long focused on advancing more narrow agendas. But because many now recognize that Pakistan’s fate is intertwined with its neighbor’s, there is hope that shared interests in peace will bridge longstanding divisions.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Asif Luqman Qazi from: Islamabad
February 01, 2014 7:46 AM
Well, the conference that you mentioned in this story, titled "Peace and Reconciliation in Afghanistan", was attended by various schools of thought. It will not be fair to caption it as a gathering of pro-Taliban elements. Representatives from the Afghan government and liberal political parties of Pakistan spoke on this occasion. The party that could not attend was Taliban themselves, due to legal restrictions in Pakistan. It is up to the international community to think how to make Taliban part of such a dialogue process, even if it is initiated by a civil society organisation. If they will not be part of the dialogue process, peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan will remain wishful thinking.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid