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Old Wednesday, April 01, 2020
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Default My Article: PEACE ACCORD PROMISES (April Edition)

PEACE ACCORD PROMISES
(April Edition)

Afghanistan has a troubled history of foreign invasions and internal infighting. The landlocked and socially diverse country has remained the battlefield of the world’s super powers and, as a result has earned the reputation of the “graveyard of empires”. After the 9/11, the incident that changed the entire global political landscape, US-led allies invaded Afghanistan to wipe out the global terror outfit, the Al-Qaeda, that was sheltered by the Taliban government and it was alleged by te U.S. that the 9/11 attacks had been perpetrated from this region. The war continued endlessly in which thousands of Afghans died during the course of nineteen long years. Though the challenges are not yet over, the Qatar agreement has provided some hope to Afghanistan and its neighbours that peace is on the horizon.

Now the negotiations have entered into the most complex phase – an intra-Afghan dialogue process. If this succeeds, it can pave the way for lasting peace. If this does not happen, more disproportionate violence will ensue. The whole affair must be dealt with the utmost caution by both the stakeholders and the facilitators.

The attacks of 9/11, the deadliest attacks on the US mainland after Pearl Harbour in 1941, killed more than 3,000 persons. The United States demanded of the then Taliban government to hand over to them the Al-Qaeda leaders but the Taliban refused. In response, the United States-led allies launched “Operation Enduring Freedom”, popularly known as the “war on terror” with the aim to wipe out the global terror outfit which they claimed was responsible for 9/11. They wanted to introduce western democratic values in conservative Afghanistan. The longest war in history resulted in 4,030 deaths of Western coalition forces and cost $975 billion. In addition, there were 58,000 deaths of Afghan security forces and thousands of civilian casualties.

Unlike previous half-baked negotiation efforts, President Trump was determined this time to obtain a positive result. He assigned the task to diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad. On February 29, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Zalmay Khalilzad signed an agreement paving the way for lasting peace in Afghanistan. The agreement contained: (1) guarantee that the Afghan soil will not be allowed to be used against the US or its allies. (2) a timeline for withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghan soil. (3) an intra-Afghan dialogue and political settlement between the Taliban and the Kabul government. (4) permanent ceasefire. The landmark agreement provided a sigh of relief to the Afghans and their neighbours and they hoped that an era of peace and prosperity was around the corner.

Under the agreement, a prisoner swap was to take place between the Kabul regime and the Taliban before March 10. Kabul had to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners and, in exchange, the Taliban would be releasing 1,000 government troops. However, president Ghani refused to do so, saying that his government had not pledged to free Taliban prisoners. He also said that prisoner release could not be a prerequisite for talks, but was to be a part of the negotiations. In the meanwhile, president Trump discussed the issue with the chief Taliban negotiator, Mullah Baradar. Surprisingly, after the refusal of president Ghani to release prisoners, Taliban launched an offensive against Afghan forces in Kunduz, Helmand, etc. In response, US forces launched counter-strikes on the Taliban, terming them as “defensive strikes” to support the beleaguered Kabul regime.

Following the new hostilities, many analysts cast doubts on the success of the Doha Accord. The were critical of Ashraf Ghani’s refusal to swap prisoners and also raised questions about the controversial presidential elections that caused irreparable damage to the process.

The presidential elections were held in September 2019 and preliminary results indicated Ashraf Ghani secured 50.6 percent electoral votes, Abdullah Abdullah 39.5 percent and Gulbadin Hikmatyar 3.8 percent. Dr. Abdullah rejected the final election results and termed them as rigged elections. This time around both Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah declared themselves ‘winners’ and separately took oath of presidents of Afghanistan, representing parallel governments.

Despite the fact Khalilzad tried his best to convince the two leaders for postponement of the oath ceremony, both leaders were adamant. Ashraf Ghani’s inaugural was attended by Zalmay Khalilzad, the US and NATO Forces Commander in Afghanistan General Scott Miller and other diplomats. Both the leaders hurriedly took oath in order to make themselves relevant in the post-settlement power-sharing set-up as well as during the intra-Afghan dialogue process. In addition, president Ghani’s reluctance to release Taliban prisoners was also used as a bargaining chip to seek endorsement from the U.S. and other western countries for the presidential elections.

President Trump has invested heavily in the Afghan endgame so as to reap fruits in the November U.S. elections. Trump will run a campaign based on fulfilling his promise of bringing an end to the longest US war and also killing General Sulemani, considered a threat to US allies.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had alerted the international community about the spoilers that must be “kept at bay”. There is a need for all stakeholders and facilitators to keep a vigilant eye till sustained peace is not realised. The Afghan political leadership must especially show maturity and exercise restraint.

As the Afghan elections have become controversial, Afghan leaders should shun their vested interests and form an interim government with a negotiation team representing all the Afghan stakeholders - Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah Abdullah, Hamid Karzai, Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, Rashid Dostum, Ustad Mohaqiq, the civil society, women representatives, etc. The US, Iran, China, Pakistan and Russia should also leverage consensus. The Taliban should also not ramp up their violent activities against government forces. The US can compel the Afghans to abide by the agreement by threatening to stop civilian and military aid and imposing added sanctions.

Once the intra-Afghan dialogue reaches a settlement, fresh elections should be announced along with the adoption of new constitution. Moreover, the facilitators should encourage future political settlements to merge the Taliban and other fighters and warlords into the Afghan National Security Forces.

After the intra-Afghan dialogue, the international community and particularly the U.S. should continue civilian and military assistance to Afghanistan for at least another decade. Afghanistan is not a self-sufficient country and is largely dependent on foreign aid. The U.S. must guarantee continued assistance, contingent upon international treaties, peace agreements, etc. so that the goal of lasting peace can be established.

Pakistan, China, Iran, Russia and the Central Asian Republics should also provide trade access to land-locked Afghanistan so that the country is able to generate sufficient revenues. Projects such as CASA-1000, TAPI, trade access through CPEC, etc. should be initiated on priority basis so that Afghanistan may earn royalties.

Allama Iqbal considered Afghanistan the “heart of Asia”. This means that without peace in Afghanistan, peace can hardly be achieved in Asia. Though challenging, all efforts must be dedicated to seizing this opportunity.

The writer is a development sector practitioner and can be reached at amjadsiyal@hotmail.com

http://www.southasia.com.pk/2020/03/...T_5ruMv04I3dLo
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Old Friday, April 03, 2020
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Dear Sir, good to see your article. It was well written. Kindly guide how one can get his article published and whether we are paid or not for our articles. Thanks.
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Old Wednesday, April 08, 2020
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Originally Posted by Innocent Hafeez View Post
Dear Sir, good to see your article. It was well written. Kindly guide how one can get his article published and whether we are paid or not for our articles. Thanks.
@Innocent Hafeez did you appear in 2020?
I guess u did.
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Old Thursday, April 09, 2020
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Originally Posted by Innocent Hafeez View Post
Dear Sir, good to see your article. It was well written. Kindly guide how one can get his article published and whether we are paid or not for our articles. Thanks.


1. You have huge platforms for publication. For instance, you can write an article on any topic and send it to newspaper, in case it remains unpublished, then send it to web-based platforms. Even if they do not publish it, then create one of yours. Here is my blog as an example: http://facebook.com/amjadASiyal

2. Paid or unpaid depends on the publication platform. Some do, others not.


Hope it helps.
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@Innocent Hafeez did you appear in 2020?
I guess u did.
No dear, I did not due to pcs, but going to appear in 2021 InshAllah
Did you?
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Old Thursday, April 09, 2020
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Originally Posted by LifeAdventure View Post
1. You have huge platforms for publication. For instance, you can write an article on any topic and send it to newspaper, in case it remains unpublished, then send it to web-based platforms. Even if they do not publish it, then create one of yours. Here is my blog as an example: http://facebook.com/amjadASiyal

2. Paid or unpaid depends on the publication platform. Some do, others not.


Hope it helps.
Thanks sir for your response. I think i have read your articles in English dailies as well. It would be very kind if you send gudelines or procedure for sending articles and plus which newspaper, if you know, welcomes young writers most?
Thanks.
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Old Thursday, April 09, 2020
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Quote:
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No dear, I did not due to pcs, but going to appear in 2021 InshAllah
Did you?
Yes, i did.
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Old Thursday, April 09, 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Innocent Hafeez View Post
Thanks sir for your response. I think i have read your articles in English dailies as well. It would be very kind if you send gudelines or procedure for sending articles and plus which newspaper, if you know, welcomes young writers most?
Thanks.



1. You may send to any newspapers at the email address available at the contact section.

2. Write between 600 to 1,000 words

3. At the end give your name, address, contact details, CNIC number, one sentence description about yourself.

4. If you are a beginner with basic/intermediate writing skills, start writing in Morning Mail, Parliament Times, Courting the Law, etc.
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Old Friday, April 10, 2020
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Yes, i did.
Okdear. I pray you get through this journey.
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Old Friday, April 10, 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeAdventure View Post
1. You may send to any newspapers at the email address available at the contact section.

2. Write between 600 to 1,000 words

3. At the end give your name, address, contact details, CNIC number, one sentence description about yourself.

4. If you are a beginner with basic/intermediate writing skills, start writing in Morning Mail, Parliament Times, Courting the Law, etc.
Thanks sir for your response. I wil try to follow your guidelines InshAllah. Thanks again.
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