*CASS CONDUCTS WEBINAR ON “FUTURE OF AFGHANISTAN: IMPLICATIONS AND OPTIONS FOR PAKISTAN”*
Islamabad : Neighboring countries must help Afghanistan reach an “Afghan-led” power-sharing arrangement and become “partners in peace.” Pak-Afghan cooperation can turn the region into a zone of opportunity, trade, commerce, and transit. These were some of major conclusions of the international webinar on “Future of Afghanistan: Implications and Options for Pakistan”, organized by the Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS) in Islamabad.
Speakers from the United States (US), Afghanistan and Pakistan critically evaluated the emerging complex dynamics within Afghanistan and their likely impact on Pakistan’s politics, security, and economy. Moderating the webinar, Syed Muhammad Ali, Director Nuclear and Strategic Affairs at CASS said that the international community, regional powers, and Afghan stakeholders would have to learn from the bitter and costly conflict history and work together to prevent its adverse consequences for South, West and Central Asia.
Offering his insight on the US’ withdrawal plan, Prof. Dr Marvin G. Weinbaum, Director at the Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies, Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C, observed that it was likely that now there would be even greater violence than ever before setting the stage for an open-ended, proxy-driven civil war that would create millions of refugees and destabilize the region.
On Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, Dr Torek Farhadi, former Advisor to the President of Afghanistan, highlighted that the Taliban need to understand that once foreign troops left and there was civil war, it would not benefit anyone, not the Afghans, not Pakistan, everyone would lose.
Lt Gen (Retd) Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, former Chief of General Staff, Pakistan Army, pointed out that a Pak-Afghan agreement needed to be put in place along with an agreement by supporting states (friends of Afghanistan) willing to support Kabul, post-US departure.
Amb (Retd) Jalil Abbas Jilani, Director at CASS and former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, was of the view that the ongoing peace process had stalemated. Despite that, whatever the outcome of the peace process, it was imperative for Islamabad to continue to display the same level of commitment towards Afghanistan’s peace and stability.
In his Concluding Remarks, Deputy President CASS and former Vice Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal (Retd) Farhat Hussain Khan emphasized that any internal fighting, particularly between the Taliban and the Kabul govt, would pose a serious challenge to regional peace. The Deputy President stressed that failure to achieve stability in Afghanistan would have serious implications on Pakistan’s economic and internal security emerging out of influx of refugees and terror activities.