July 7, 2021
JMI organises Extension Lecture on "Current Juncture in the Afghan Peace Process: An Appraisal from the Lenses of Peace Theory”
The Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (NMCPCR) organised a virtual Extension Lecture on July 6, 2021. The theme of the Extension Lecture was "Current Juncture in the Afghan Peace Process: An Appraisal from the Lenses of Peace Theory". The keynote speaker was Dr. Ali Ahmed.. He has been a United Nations Official, Academic and Retired Infantry Officer of the Indian Army. Prof. Kaushikee, Honorary Director, NMCPCR welcomed the speaker and all the participants. She also briefly introduced the speaker.
Dr. Ahmed began his lecture by highlighting two important issues: that the current juncture in the Afghan Peace Process is to be understood in the backdrop of the pullout of US troops from Afghanistan. Secondly, the terms of the ongoing Afghan peace process are primarily based on the Taliban’s undertaking to not allow the Afghan territory to be used against US interests and that the US will proceed to exit from Afghanistan by September 2021. He mentioned that the implementation of the peace agreement reached between the Taliban and the US government in February 2020 is currently underway and there is a three-way contest going on within Afghanistan between the Afghan government, the Taliban and the ethnic and local militias which may lead to civil war in the future if not handled carefully.
In the second part of his lecture, the speaker focused on the Peace Theories and Models such as the Hour glass model, the Agenda for Peace framework etc. He then gave a snippet view of the Afghan Peace Process and emphasized in detail on the peacemaking and peace-building aspects. As part of the peacemaking initiatives, he spoke about the Geneva Accords, the UN Support Mission in Afghanistan, the Bonn International Conferences, the efforts made by the Obama and the Trump administration, culminating in the peace deal arrived at in Doha in February 2020.
Dr. Ahmed was optimistic about the prospects of peacemaking in Afghanistan. He emphasized that the initiative at this juncture is dependent on the condition set by the Taliban that they would engage in talks with the Afghan government once the US and its allies have left Afghanistan. He maintained that by engaging with the Taliban it may be influenced to be more moderate especially with respect to human rights in Afghanistan. The speaker was hopeful that from the Peace Theory perspective, it would be beneficial to continue talking to the Taliban as this may result in a political solution.
Speaking about peace-building, the speaker highlighted some of the major issues like credible elections, a likely review of the Constitution especially in relation to the question of women’s rights, minority rights etc., the Security Sector Reforms, the implementation of Rule of Law, interim arrangements before holding elections and transitional justice mechanisms and last but not the least the critical issue of development. He concluded by saying that military solutions have limited efficacy and it is important to go in for a political resolution by engaging with all the stakeholders through negotiation and dialogue. He was appreciative of India’s recently reported outreach to the Taliban.
The lecture was followed by an engaging Q and A session wherein students and participants raised several critical questions. The event concluded with a proposal of a vote of thanks by the Honorary Director. The lecture was attended by faculty members, students and research scholars of the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and by students of other centres and departments of JMI.