Afghanistan’s Peace Dividend

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Afghanistan on brink of economic and humanitarian collapse

by Hammad Baloch    4 December 2023

The transformative potential of peace in Afghanistan envisions a paradigm shift in the nation’s trajectory, transcending the shadows of conflict. As the prospect of lasting peace dawns, Afghanistan stands on the brink of unprecedented socio-economic development. This not only ensures stability but also opens doors for international investments, infrastructural growth, and educational advancements. The promise is to foster an environment where communities can rebuild, families can thrive, and the nation can harness its full potential. This transformative journey holds the key to alleviating the burdens of decades-long conflict, ushering in an era of prosperity, unity, and hope for the Afghan people.

Decades of Turmoil:

For too long, Afghanistan has been marred by conflict, instability, and unrest, with profound implications not only for its own people but also for neighboring countries like Pakistan. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan is crucial for regional stability, economic development, and international security. The implications of sustained conflict have been far-reaching, affecting not only the lives of Afghan citizens but also straining relations with neighboring nations.

Peace as a Catalyst for Development:

The advantages of peace in Afghanistan extend beyond its borders, particularly for Pakistan. With a shared long border, stable conditions in Afghanistan would facilitate increased trade and commerce between the two nations. Afghanistan’s strategic location could serve as a gateway for Pakistani goods to reach Central Asian markets, providing a substantial boost to Pakistan’s economy.

Border Security and Cooperation:

The porous Afghan-Pakistani border has long been a source of security concerns for both countries. The realization of peace in Afghanistan would lead to enhanced border security and cooperation, reducing the flow of militants and illicit activities across the border. This is not only essential for Afghanistan’s stability but is a crucial component of Pakistan’s own security strategy. Peace would contribute to stability in the region, creating an environment conducive to shared growth and prosperity.

Refugee Crisis Resolution:

For years, Pakistan has generously hosted millions of Afghan refugees who fled the conflict in their homeland. The attainment of peace in Afghanistan holds the promise of creating conditions for the safe and voluntary return of Afghan refugees, thus easing the burden on Pakistan’s resources and infrastructure. This resolution of the refugee crisis is not only a humanitarian imperative but also an essential step towards fostering regional stability.

Regional Connectivity and Economic Integration:

Peace in Afghanistan is a catalyst for regional connectivity and economic integration. Pakistan, actively participating in regional initiatives like the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stands to benefit from access to Central Asian markets through Afghanistan. The stability of Afghanistan is integral to the success of these projects, providing a secure transit route for energy resources and trade. A peaceful Afghanistan not only contributes to regional stability but also encourages diplomatic dialogues, joint initiatives, and the resolution of long-standing disputes among neighboring countries.

International Concerns and Pakistan’s Role:

International concerns regarding inclusivity under the Taliban government are valid, and Pakistan supports a comprehensive dialogue involving all Afghan factions, including civil society and the Taliban government. Inclusivity is crucial for sustainable peace and stability. Furthermore, Pakistan advocates for the protection of girls’ education and women’s rights in Afghanistan’s transition to peace, recognizing the positive impact of educating girls on societal development.

Counterterrorism Efforts and Global Security:

Preventing the use of Afghan soil for terrorist activities is a shared international concern. Pakistan, having faced the challenges of terrorism itself, emphasizes the importance of a stable Afghanistan that does not harbor extremist elements threatening global security. The commitment to a stable and prosperous Afghanistan aligns with Pakistan’s vision of regional peace, security, and development.

Conclusion:

Achieving peace in Afghanistan demands collective efforts from the international community. Pakistan, unwavering in its commitment to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, is dedicated to facilitating peace talks and cooperating with regional and global stakeholders. The advantages of peace in Afghanistan extend far beyond national borders; a stable and prosperous Afghanistan contributes to regional growth, security, and cooperation. The world must seize the opportunity to support Afghanistan’s journey toward a brighter future, understanding that the dividends of peace will be felt across borders, fostering a new era of stability and prosperity in the heart of Asia.