A few years ago, it was unfathomable that Russia and China would influence the Afghan peace process. With the United States facing Trump’s mood swings and Britain in a Brexit quagmire, these countries are taking over as world leadership if the recent Moscow Talks are to be considered.
Pakistan was also invited to the four-party talks aimed at reviving the stalled dialogue between the Afghan Taliban and the US cancelled by Trump last month. The situation in Kabul with presidential election results withheld could implode if there is no negotiated settlement.
The quadrilateral talks are a welcome development and all four nations have agreed on the need to reduce violence in the war-ravaged country before the situation gets beyond control.
Russia, China and Pakistan have called for the resumption of the peace process calling on Washington to return to the negotiation table. This agreement would set the stage for the intra-Afghan talks as warring tribes would then start their own negotiations for a post-war Afghanistan.
It is not clear what it would take for Trump to restart talks but the US President has insisted that he wants to end American involvement in what has become their biggest military engagement. The statement calling for a reduction in violence might convince Trump for renewed peace talks.
Russia initiated the dialogue process this year and hosted intra-Afghan meetings to help end the war. Russia is concerned that continued instability is encouraging terrorist groups like ISIS to establish strongholds on Afghan soil and affect regional allies.
China has recently established good relations with the Afghan Taliban. The last talks held in Beijing in July made progress and the both adversaries came close to concluding a peace deal. Afghan Taliban next tour is scheduled for Beijing to hold the intra-Afghan talks. There is no official confirmation from China except that it will facilitate and help the Afghan peace process.
The United States and Russia battled in Afghanistan and both countries are responsible for their current situation. Ironically, both countries now find themselves trying to bring peace to Kabul. The Americans and Soviets jostled for influence during the Cold War and Afghanistan has not yet fully recovered.
All four nations cannot allow further political instability or violence in Afghanistan as they will be directly affected, while innocent Afghan civilians continue to lose their lives. The only solution would be for all sides to end hostilities and work for peace.