Dialogue and Sustainable Peace: Processes and Structures

The American Institute of Afghanistan studies and National Center for Dialogue and Progress arranged a Kabul Talks program at the Afghanistan Center at Kabul University on the 2nd October 2019.

The guest speakers for the program were Dr. William Maley Professor of Diplomacy at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, where he served as Foundation Director from 1 July 2003 to 31 December 2014 and one of the academics and researchers who has written various articles and books about Afghanistan and Dr. Sirinjoy Bose, a Lecturer / Assistant Professor in Politics and International Relations, Dr Bose’s research topics include critical peace/security studies including, political order and violence, international intervention, state formation and conflict.

Dr William Maley started the program by addressing three significant elements in a peace process. The design of a peace process, the execution and implementation of the process and the timeliness of the process. Dr Maley pointed out that any peace process should be designed in a way that would include all the appropriate parties. In the Afghan peace process, the absence of the Afghan government said to a wide audience that the government is not a significant player which might affect the inclusiveness of the process and the result of it. Moreover, Dr. Maley emphasized on the execution of the process and gave the example of the Afghan peace process, a rush in the process may end up with an undesired result from the process, and this should be remembered that not all the peace processes end up with the desired result, even a well-designed process can be executed poorly, that is where the importance of the process execution comes up. In the Afghan peace process, the presence of Khalilzad as the envoy of the American government that is originally from Afghanistan created controversies that he might have a personal or political agenda towards this process and some news say that this has been one of the reasons that the process did not finish sooner or even has been cancelled.

Dr Bose started his talk with emphasizing on three policy recommendations. First of all, the need and requirement of an Afghan-owned and led peace process and he pointed out that the exclusiveness of the Afghan government from the process gives a legitimacy to Taliban and underlines the Afghan government.

Second, the tradeoffs in the peace process, what the Afghan people are willing to give to Taliban in the process and are ready to sacrifice for the peace and are the Taliban willing to share the power with the Afghan people, Dr. Bose gave the example of Kundoz, when the Taliban captured the city how they behaved with the people.

Third, the regional dimension in the process. Dr. Bose emphasized on the importance of the regional players in the process and how their presence can have positive affect on the process.

The program was concluded with a Q&A session and sharing of ideas among the audience and guest speakers.