Building Peace and Connectivity through Research and Dialogue

Heart of Asia Society Dialogue with the Afghan Civil Society members and students on the Afghan Peace Process

In the continuation of Dialogue series, the Heart of Asia Society convened a dialogue on the Afghan peace process with Afghan civil society members and students of universities.

The two-hours zoom dialogue constituted candid and detailed discussions on the salient themes related to recent developments on the intra-Afghan negotiations in particular and the peace process in general.

Key points discussed in the dialogue: 1.) It was argued that the role of the regional consensus has been neglected, which is super essential in the Afghan peace process. 2.) A regional framework for Afghan peace must be worked out, given the fact that the international dynamics of Afghan peace is different than that of its regional ones. 3.) Unfortunately, some countries have played the role of “spectator” and even some others have even demonstrated concern about the initiation of peace talks with the Taliban. 4.) Geopolitical tensions and strategic conflicts among the regional powers in Afghanistan have undermined the opportunity for the establishment of a regional consensus. 5.) Therefore, the consensus at the domestic level and among diverse communities and ethnicities in Afghanistan is imperative for succeeding the Afghan peace process. 6.) Participants have highlighted the salience of integrating youth into peacebuilding; and they came with practical suggestions that have also been implemented by NGOs in Afghanistan, such as addressing domestic violence through youth and establishing conflict resolution mechanisms at educational centers like schools and universities. 7.) It was also raised that regional countries should avoid their strategic rivalries in Afghanistan and commit to Afghan peace that will lead to overall stability in the region. 8.) Some participants have shared their experience working for peace; their activities focused on the minority groups, and they argued that a) the role of the minority groups have been neglected in the process; b) women have had a symbolic and ineffective role in the peace process; c) 20 years gains should be preserved; d) accountability and justice should be provided for the victims of the Afghan conflict. 9.) Participants have highlighted the importance of joint efforts by CSOs for the preservation of democratic values. 10) decentralization was suggested as one of the steps toward long-run peacebuilding efforts where all the political groups are mirrored in the political system. 11.) It was also mentioned that legitimate concerns of all parties to the conflict should be heard. 12.) The Helmand Peace Caravan was highlighted as an effective initiative and a prime instance of community-based peacemaking. 13.) Some participants asked about the possibility of the Taliban consenting to the extension of U.S. exit, in response, it was argued that any extension, or in converse, any long-term presence without a regional consultation could jeopardize the peace destiny seriously.