Taliban in Tashkent for talks can bring peace to region

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Peace talks attended by Taliban in Tashkent are a breakthrough for regional peace and can bring main stakeholders to negotiation table, believe regional experts.

Regional experts believe that Taliban delegation which reached the Uzbek Capital Tashkent on Tuesday has blessings of Mullah Habatullah, the Ameer (Chief) of Taliban faction previously led by late Mullah Mansoor and Mullah Omar.

Latest talks in Tashkent are apparent results of US-Taliban talks which held recently in Doha, Qatar, and it was decided that the peace process would continue under the guidelines and recommendations of the Tashkent Peace Conference held on March 27, 2018 and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev offered his Country for peace talks between/among all stakeholders of Afghan civil War during the Conference he hosted in Tashkent.

It is pertinent to mention that the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of State Department of United States Alice G. Wells reportedly held talks with Taliban in Doha in last week of July. Taliban sources confirmed talks with Alice Wells while State Department had been tight-lipped over this development.

It may also be mentioned that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan on Saturday confirmed that a delegation of Taliban belonging to Doha Office led by its head Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai visited Uzbekistan on August 7, 2018 which was received at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Uzbek Foreign Ministry also confirmed that officials of the Foreign Ministry and Taliban exchanged views on prospects of the peace process in Afghanistan and discussed a possible Road Map which can lead to peace talks among stakeholders of Afghan war — Taliban and the Kabul government of President Ashraf Ghani.

This development can be linked with the Tashkent Conference on Afghanistan which was held on March 27, 2018 under the title of “Peace Process, Security Cooperation and Regional Connectivity”. The Conference was attended by representatives of 24 Countries and International Organizations, aimed at finding a solution to the Afghan conflict.

Regional experts are of the view that the Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is proactive to resolve conflicts in the region and took initiative to normalise relations with neighbouring Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan which had been having serious border demarcation and water resource issues with Uzbekistan gifted by the Soviet Era.

“President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is a different kind of statesman. He believes that conflicts hamper development and future of youth of the region. He believes that region can not achieve peace if there is even one country which is bleeding. President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is trying to leave legacy of last era of the Soviet Union that left the entire region under the grip of conflicts —- a recipe that cooked only bitter soup for the entire region. He is a forward looking statesman and can bring peace in the region,” said Agha Iqrar Haroon who is a Development Observer working in the regions of Central Asia and Eastern Europe.