Bringing peace in Afghanistan is both complex and imperative. It is complex because the continuous peace process between the US and Taliban has failed to yield a positive result. It is imperative because the instability in Afghanistan is directly linked to insecurity in the region. Many attempts to solve the issue remained unsuccessful owing to a hard approach adopted by the Taliban and not providing the US with a face saving withdrawal option.
Under these circumstances, some measures can be taken to give a practical shape to the peace process of Afghanistan, which are given below:
Pakistan must mount pressure on the Taliban to soften their rhetoric
The Taliban, ever since the start of negotiation with the US, had been anticipating that they had defeated the super power. As a result, they were proving to be a hard negotiator. They were, indeed, sitting across the table with the US representatives as victors were talking to the vanquished and demanded the complete withdrawal of the US forces. Besides, they refused to talk with the existing Afghan government by calling it as an American puppet. They did not want to share power with any ethnic group. Consequently, the negotiation could not succeed. It was imperative for the Taliban to soften their rhetoric and accept some demands of the US as well. Pakistan enjoys good influence over them as evident in its role of mediator to arrange talks between the US and Taliban. It needs to put pressure on them to adopt a soft approach during negotiation.
Very recently, it seems that Taliban have reduced their hard approach as manifested in the recently concluded Doha peace agreement with the US. They have not only relaxed their demand of the complete withdrawal of the US forces at once, but also agreed to engage in negotiation with the other ethnic groups for power sharing. It is a good sign for the peaceful solution of Afghanistan. They must continue this policy and cooperate with the US.
Face saving avenue for the US to retreat
The US still retains the status of super power. Hence, it cannot withdraw completely at once as per the demands of Taliban because it will create a wrong impression that small irregular forces of Taliban defeated the super power. It is, therefore, the US is striving to withdraw from Afghanistan in a respectful way. Consequently, it decided to keep a small counter-terrorism force in Afghanistan to pay heed on the terrorist outfits like Al-Qaeda and IS formerly called ISIS. However, the Taliban continuously pushed Washington to withdraw completely and they also promised that they would not allow any terrorist group to operate from their land. The US will never agree to move out its forces completely under the pressure of Taliban. Thus, keeping in view this position, the Taliban must provide an option to the US to leave the territory in installments. They have recently agreed on it as well.
Involvement of the regional countries in the deal
The US must include the regional countries like Russian, China, Pakistan and Iran as a part of the deal because peace in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without their support. These countries not only enjoy their influences on the different ethnic groups but also required to soothe their reservations. For instances, Afghani living in the Northern Afghanistan are mostly non-Pashtun and they dislike and distrust Pashtun of Southern Afghanistan. They are under fear that once the coalition government is formed with Taliban as partners, the latter will indulge in atrocities against them as they did in 1997 during occupation of Mazar-i-Sharef. Hence, non-Pashtun will not accept the coalition government. As a result, the intra-Afghan consensus will hit to the brick wall reducing the entire efforts of bringing peace in Afghanistan to the ashes. It is, therefore, the guarantee of Iran and other regional countries will be required to pacify the emotions of non-Pashtun that Taliban will remain peaceful with them. It is the only way to succeed the Intra-Afghan consensus. Besides, the all-regional countries want peace. China and Pakistan are in favor of peace because instability in Afghanistan is having negative impacts on CPEC and BRI vision of China. Thus, if the US really wants peace, it must involve the other regional countries in the deal, otherwise, the intra-Afghan consensus will collapse.
Division of Afghanistan into two units
Afghanistan should be divided into two units___ Northern and Southern Afghanistan. As already described, the non-Pashtun population of North Afghanistan will never cooperate with Taliban of Southern Afghanistan in power sharing. These two units must act as two large provinces and should be given full autonomy. The federal government must be given a task of collecting revenue and distributing it as per population in the both provinces. If the President is from South than Prime minister must be from the North. Thus, it is the only way to bring peace between Pashtun and non-Pashtun. Otherwise, currently, the people of North Afghanistan are in the favor of status quo and encourage the US to eliminate the Taliban completely.
Thus, a peace can only be achieved if the Taliban adopts soft approach, the US is given a face-saving option for retreat, the regional countries are involved and Afghanistan is divided into two units. If these measures are not taken, the peace in Afghanistan will remain a distant dream.