Malaysia must be voice for peace in Afghanistan

EARLIER this month, Turkey announced it is hosting and facilitating a new round of peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban sometime in April.

The upcoming meetings have the objective of complementing and reinforcing the previous meetings held in Qatar.

With this Ankara initiative, it is expected that the involved parties will be able to solidify and lay the foundation for a permanent and just settlement to the long and complex Afghan war. Turkey has long proved itself to be a reliable partner after years of delicately balancing its ties with Afghanistan throughout times of war and peace.

Turkey has not only emerged as a trustworthy peace broker, but Turkey also has the ability to bring other powerful nations into the picture.

Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan, Qatar and India are amongst important players that are involved in the upcoming peace negotiations. 

Even Indonesia have been very proactive with their former Vice President, Yusuf Kalla, constantly travelling between Kabul and Qatar, meeting officials of both governments to lobby for peace.

The presence of powerful countries clearly shows that Afghanistan’s security and stability are crucial to international security thus there is a need to ensure that the upcoming meeting will be “internationally endorsed and supported”. 

Strong participation of interest beyond regional actors is a must to make this work.

Unfortunately, Malaysia is not taking any active role, neither is it seen endorsing such an important international peace effort. 

This is despite Malaysia’s reputation as a progressive democracy and a fast-developing Islamic country.

Without a cohesive and strong international support, the Ankara initiative could fail and the failure would be catastrophic, escalating the civil and regional proxy war in Afghanistan. 

This will lead to other threats towards international peace and security, compromising our effort in the fight against global terrorism, drug trafficking and waves of war refugees.

It makes little sense for Malaysia to remain silent during such a crucial time.

Malaysia should voice its support to the Ankara peace initiatives and be part of the regional and international convergence to deliver peace and development to the Afghan people. 

This is a unique chance for Malaysia to be part of the international efforts to not just end the long war in Afghanistan, but also the other critical challenges and dangers that threaten Afghan’s  stability, the region, and the wider world.

Given the urgency of the process and the importance of international solidarity and support for an eventual Afghan peace agreement, this diplomatic initiative should be prioritized by all regional and international stakeholders, including Malaysia.

By doing so, Malaysia will strengthen its image as a true partner for world peace and the champion of moderate Islam. – March 31, 2021.

* Dr Abdul Razak Ahmad is the founding director of Bait al-Amanah and found of of Nahel Endowment for Peace.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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