News

Date: January 13, 2021
Time: 2:00 – 3:30, Kabul time
Location: Zoom

Background and Rationale

Sustainability of a peace agreement in any context is to a large extent a function of an inclusive peace process and a widely shared notion of the greater good replacing the status quo.

In the current peace process, civil society is excluded from the political process, there is no strategic direction by national or international stakeholders to guide the peace process, and there is no agenda reflecting the greater good for Afghanistan – apart from periodic statements by national and international actors about the need to protect women’s and human rights and gains made since 2001 and statements by the Taliban that the post-peace mode of government must be based on Islamic principles.

Consistent with the more inclusive and ultimately successful models of peace negotiations, visions of the greater good for Afghanistan need to be evidence-based, organic, and consistent with the wellbeing of individuals as inseparable members of their communities and consistent with the good of the country as a whole. As such, visions of the greater good need to be results of civic discourse at multiple levels throughout the country.

Inadequacies and insufficiencies of Afghanistan’s peace process can be addressed at multiple levels through the establishment of different tracks of diplomacy as follows:

  • Track 1: high-level diplomatic engagement led by highly visible mediators mutually recognized by the conflict parties. It is aimed at influencing the structures of political power to identify peaceful resolutions of conflict and define negotiation outcomes.[1]
  • Track 2: unofficial, informal interactions between constituencies of conflict parties. Their objective is to “develop strategies, to influence public opinion, organize human and material resources in way that might help resolve their conflict.”[2] Track 2 is intended to provide a bridge between leaders that participate in Track 1 and people’s expectations about peace. They typically include middle-range actors who are not necessarily formally connected to conflict parties.
  • Track 3: engagement at the grassroots level, between citizens involved in local communities who experience the day-to-day effects of conflict, including struggles in access to food, water, income, shelter, protection and safety.

The current intra-Afghan peace talks represent Track 1 of peace negotiations while Track 2 and Track 3 do not exist. For a peace agreement to sustain, Track 2 and Track 3 diplomacy, engaging citizen constituencies in their diversity, will also be needed.

Civil society, broadly defined, can play an instrumental role in driving efforts to open up and supplement Track 1 of Afghanistan’s peace process by formally establishing Track 2 and Track 3 for the intra-Afghan peace negotiations. Once established, Tracks 2 and 3 would need to be maintained by civil society as a de facto framework and mechanism for peace negotiations, creating spaces and opportunities for debate and dialogue on the greater good for Afghanistan, defining a unifying agenda to attain it, and undertaking advocacy and lobbying to mainstream it in the formal peace negotiations.

On December 12, 2020 National Advocacy Committee for Public Policy (NAC-PP) approached its members to become signatory to a statement demanding inclusiveness, cooperation and collaboration toward peace. To date, 25 organizations have signed this statement, committing to cooperate and collaborate for the completion of Track 1 and initiation of Track 2 and Track 3 for the peace process.

Next Steps

This Virtual Open Forum for Peace aims to strengthen efforts by civil society and other actors toward a more complete Track 1 and initiation of Track 2 and Track 3 of Afghanistan’s peace process.

To pursue this objective, all those present will be asked to consider becoming signatories to the joint statement on peace and provide in-kind support for subsequent virtual open forums at subnational, national and international levels to keep multiple stakeholders informed and engaged in Afghanistan’s peace process.

The format for this event will be a presentation to set the parameters for a panel discussion and Q&A session that follows. The confirmed panelists are:

  • Dr. Amin Ahmadi – Member of Afghanistan’s peace negotiating team, Head of Avicenna University
  • Ms. Nargis Nehan – Former Minister of Mines and Petroleum, founder of Equality for Peace and Democracy
  • Dr. Sima Samar – Former State Minister for Human Rights and International Relations and member of UN High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation
  • Dr. Omar Sadr – Professor, American University of Afghanistan
  • Dr. Saeed Parto – Director of Research, Afghanistan Public Policy Research Organization

Note: The language of the event will be Dari

Please Register by January 12, 2021 through the following link:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAufuqprTMuEtdbmSojChqhkzMttaFssXv3

For more information, call: 0702167533

[1]  Mapendere, J (2010), Track One and a Half Diplomacy and the Complementarity of Tracks, Culture of Peace Online Journal, 2(1), 66-81.

[2]  Montville, J. (1991). Track Two Diplomacy: The Arrow and the Olive Branch: A Case for Track Two Diplomacy. In Volkan, V.D., J. Montville and D.A. Julius (Eds.), The Psychodynamics of International Relations: Vol. 2.  Unofficial diplomacy at work (pp. 161-175). Massachusetts: Lexington Books. Cited in Mapendere, J. (2010). op.cit.