Hopes high for Jakarta Afghan peace meeting

Wednesday, 09 May 2018 02:46 Written by  Read 147 times

A conference is due to be held on Afghan peace Friday in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. A delegation of Afghan scholars left the country for Jakarta on Tuesday to attend the meeting that will also host Pakistani and Indonesian Ulema.
The Jakarta peace conference is important from several aspects. Indonesia has historically remained neutral in Afghan conflict, neither has it been accused of favoring any side to the conflict, nor were its ties with Kabul very noticeable until Indonesian President Joko Widodo paid a visit to Afghanistan early this year. It was the first visit of an Indonesian leader to Afghanistan since 1961. Moreover, as a key side to the Afghan conflict, Islamabad also does not have very strong relations with Jakarta that can prompt Kabul to feel suspicious of the intentions of Indonesia, so that is why it can serve as a favorable, impartial mediator in the Afghan problem.
On the other hand, Indonesia has the experience of the peaceful settlement of its own conflict. The country suffered for years from a conflict more or less like the one currently ongoing in Afghanistan. However, it managed to find a peaceful and political solution to the violence. Jusuf Kalla, the vice-president of the incumbent president of Indonesia, was one of those who took peace talks with separatists to success. President Widodo might have counted more on Kalla’s mastery for coming forward to play a role in the settlement of Afghan conflict, as he has enough experience of peace talks.
The assumption of a mediating role by Indonesia is a promising step because it is a stable country and, at the same time, home to the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesian Islamic scholars have carved out a special reputation in the Islamic world and among Muslims because of their peace-loving nature. If Afghanistan and Pakistan clone the experience of Indonesia, and make genuine efforts, they can find a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict, as well. However, a key factor here is the support of other sides involved in the conflict. All sides, from the United States to the regional powers, should politically support the peace efforts initiated by Indonesia, or else they can also end up in failure.

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