Some say, it is a place where conflict is endemic and peace will remain elusive. Others say, these are times of great power rivalry, and hence, the prospects of those engaged in the new great game cooperating are dim. Yet, peacemaking is in the air in the heart of Asia. In other words, there is a surge of diplomacy, to address the dilemmas that Afghanistan is confronting.
The United States (US) secretary of state Anthony Blinken’s missive to Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani laid out the Joe Biden administration’s wish-list for an accelerated peace process. It set off a rush for peace and reconciliation. In early March, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghan reconciliation, launched a diplomatic offensive.
He has engaged interlocutors in Kabul, Islamabad, Doha and Moscow in a renewed bid to end the US’s longest war. On March 17, United Nations (UN) secretary-general Antonio Guterres appointed Jean Arnault from France as his personal envoy on Afghanistan and regional issues.
On March 18, the first meeting in 2021 of the extended troika of Russia, the US, China and Pakistan along with Afghan government and Taliban representatives was hosted in Moscow and endorsed the call that the Taliban not pursue its spring offensive.