Armistice a key trust-building measure

Sunday, 10 June 2018 03:31 Written by  Read 299 times

Lack of trust between parties to the Afghan conflict is the main stumbling block to peace. The Afghan sides of the war -- the government and Taliban, are therefore trying to associate each other with foreigners more than what is in reality. The Taliban allege that Afghan government does not have the independence and authority to make decisions, stressing that Americans are the decision-makers. They even view government’s peace efforts as “American conspiracy”. On the other side, Afghan government was insisting until recently that Pakistan had the Taliban in the palm of its hand. The government has always tried to talk to Pakistan for peace instead of the Taliban, a move that pushed the trust deficit to its highest. The first step towards peace is to eliminate this lack of trust.
However, the glad tidings and a positive development in this regard is the declaration of truce by Afghan government and the Taliban. Although both sides have announced a nearly unilateral ceasefire, it is a key trust-building measure that should have been taken far earlier. Following the government’s announcement of a weeklong unilateral armistice from the 27th of Ramadan until the fifth day of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Taliban, with no mention of the government’s truce, have also called on fighters for first time in a statement to stop attacking Afghan forces over Eid days as per what they called order of their leadership. The Taliban have shown an unprecedented amenability in their statement, which also directs their local officials to release some government prisoners and facilitate visits for others with their families.
Trust building is an indispensible element for any peace talks to come to fruition. As long as the negotiating sides are not assured of the commitment and honesty of the opposing sides, talks will not lead anywhere. Now that all sides have come around to the view that Afghan conflict has no military solution, it is better to take other similar trust-building measures. It will gradually pave the way for direct peace talks between the warring sides, and finally put an end to the war, which is taking a heavy toll on Afghans on a daily basis. From the warm welcome of the truce by the people of Afghanistan, both Afghan government and Taliban should have now sensed how much Afghans crave peace. Through peace, both sides can win the hearts and minds of Afghan people, and there is no doubt that every side needs the support of people to come to power.

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