In recent history, wars guided by external policies and interests, both regional and global, have been fought in Afghanistan. In the process, human security was ignored and indigenous knowledge and bottom–up approaches to resolving conflicts for sustainable peace were neither required nor mobilised for the benefit of the Afghan people. Because of these factors and since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, not only did the Taliban consolidate their position in many rural parts of the country but also propagated their extreme (and often incorrect) religious narratives to gain wider public support. With the Taliban back in power after the US withdrawal in August 2021, Afghanistan has reverted to the pre-2001 situation, with policy makers and humanitarian agencies concerned about the socioeconomic gains—especially education and gender rights—made during the two decades of coalition presence in the country. Against this backdrop, swisspeace organised a roundtable discussion on 5 May 2022, in Basel, where Afghan policy experts and scholars spoke on various issues faced by Afghanistan today and presented, in the form of policy recommendations, a way forward for the war-torn country. The panel highlighted the need to focus on and incorporate indigenous voices and prioritise the interests of the Afghan people and women in policy-making and establishing sustainable (positive) peace in the country.
Image: R9 Studios FL via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)