Resumption of quartet Afghan peace process

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 03:11 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 103 times

Meetings of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China resumed once again after over a year-long delay in Muscat, the capital of Oman. At the very beginning, the initiative aimed at seeking to facilitate face-to-face talks between Afghan government and the Taliban had revived hopes of political settlement to the Afghan war for the first time after a decade and a half of bloody conflict; however, it broke down after Pakistan failed to honor its commitments.  

 

The QCG process resumed after US President Donald Trump unveiled his strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia, in which Pakistan was lambasted for its support to terrorists. Any political endeavor, including the quartet process, intended to seek a negotiated settlement to the Afghan problem is praiseworthy. Past experience clearly showed that Afghan war did not have a military solution, so political dialogue is the most rational way to break the stalemate, but unfortunately it has not been prioritized so far as much as needed.

Although the quartet initiative managed to nudge the Taliban to the negotiating table with Afghan government for the first time, it failed due to some flaws, and also cannot be expected to yield any fruits in the future unless they are addressed. One of the shortcomings of the QCC was the absence of regional powers that have either concern about Afghanistan, or view the fragility of the situation as a potential threat to their interests.  Russia, India and Iran should be involved in meetings about Afghan peace because they think they have been affected in one way or another by the Afghan crisis. Any major decisions on Afghanistan without getting these states on board worry them, an issue which prompts them to oppose than help the peace process. That makes Afghan peace difficult if not impossible to come to fruition. 

Among those countries, Iran and Russia are effectively accused of aiding the Taliban. The exclusion of Iran and Russia as the backers of Taliban, which is the main insurgent group fighting Afghan government, as well as India as a major provider of aid to Afghanistan, from the Afghan reconciliation talks can pose numerous challenges to the process. So taking this significance into account, the involvement of these countries in QCC to have their say can greatly contribute to its success.