Pakistan’s Cooperation Usher Success for Peace
By signaling full support to the Afghan peace initiative, Pakistan is making a real gesture towards success of peace and negotiations with the Afghan Taliban. The country has taken bold steps, at least to this stage, to ensure full cooperation with the Afghan government in promoting the peace efforts and bringing the insurgents on negotiation table.
A top Pakistani official announced that the country would consult Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC) before releasing more Taliban prisoners. This would give Afghanistan a formal role in the release of remaining Taliban detainees in Pakistan’s custody through a new coordination mechanism being set up. According to the official, this was agreed by Afghan and Pakistani leaders at a recent trilateral meeting held in London.
Many believe that during the last decade of war in Afghanistan, Pakistan played the role of a spoiler for the peace efforts and negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Still, the insurgent groups enjoy their safe havens in tribal areas of Waziristan and the leaders of the group are organizing their campaign of violence from Quetta city.
During more than a decade, despite pressures from the international community, particularly the US, Pakistan refused to sincerely cooperate with the campaign against terror and insurgency in Afghanistan.
But, in recent months, Pakistan surprisingly shifted its role to a supportive one to the peace efforts in Afghanistan. In last November, Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, the body formed for seeking peace talks with the Taliban, visited Islamabad, and afterwards Pakistan released more than a dozen of Taliban prisoners, as requested by the government of Afghanistan.
Gradually, the country put itself at the center of the Afghan-led peace efforts which the Afghan and Pakistani leaders recently said must be obtained in six months.
These bold supportive measures taken by Pakistan suggest that any peace deal with the Taliban and settlement of the conflict is now a realistic goal than any time before. Perhaps in this context the over-optimistic six-month time frame for cutting a peace deal with Taliban can be translated.
The government of Afghanistan seems to be sure that it can reach a sort of cease-fire, if not a peace deal, in next year, with full cooperation from Islamabad. In the ambitious peace plan entitled ‘Peace Process Road map to 2015’ a cease-fire is predicted after some confidence-building measures, which should be followed by official deal and power sharing with the insurgent groups.
Though too wishful, the road map for peace and the six-month time frame for that are now the reflection of a real political will in Islamabad and a realistic optimism in Kabul.
But despite the considerable progress so far, still we must wait for events to develop, as everything is subject to change if Pakistan, particularly its military and intelligence, seek a tactical approach to the Afghan conflict and the regional security as a whole.