This is the first time both Pakistan and Afghanistan have a signed framework in which they can repose some trust and on the basis of which they can move forward.
Member of CRSS’ Track II/1.5 Diplomacy initiative Ambassador Seema Ilahi Balochi shares the takeaways at the conclusion of Beyond Boundaries’ core members’ third visit of Phase III to Kabul on Monday. Since the last two years that the track II/1.5 meetings have been held in both countries, Ambassador Seema Baloch says there has been a perceptible change in Kabul as well as Islamabad which can be attributed both to Afghanistan Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) and the recent ceasefire during Eid between the Taliban and the Government.
There is certainly optimism both in the government and in the interlocutors, she stated. This is the first time both Pakistan and Afghanistan have a signed framework in which they can repose some trust and on the basis of which they can move forward.
Both sides know this will only be helpful once the action within the five working groups under APAPPS is implemented. If it is not, it will be a great opportunity lost from both sides. Because right now it is the only bilateral document. It is the best way to keep out actors who want to come in for their vested interests and the best way for both countries to move forward together. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan know that there is no alternative to peace, she said. The narrative that Afghanistan’s stability depends on Pakistan works both ways as Pakistan’s stability also depends on Afghanistan. Unless the two countries work together, there will be no peace in this region she said.
What are the risks to the peace process, who could be the spoilers?
Speaking on the potential risks or spoilers involved in the new engagement between the two countries, she said that spoilers can be both state actors and non-state actors, they can be the countries surrounding Afghanistan, but also mafias. If the Taliban and the Government do not bring peace to this country, and therefore to the whole region, it might just be a whole opportunity lost.
© Copyright Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Afghan Studies Center (ASC), Islamabad.