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Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 10:36 GMT
Who can bring peace to Afghanistan?
Pakistan's new military leader has said he will co-operate with Iran to bring about a settlement between Afghanistan's warring parties. For many years, the two countries have backed opposing sides in the seemingly never-ending Afghan war.

UN-sponsored efforts to bring peace have never really made headway, and the international community seems to have little interest in the country now that the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is no more.

Are outside powers to blame for Afghanistan's problems? Or are the country's ethnic and communal divisions simply too great to be overcome?


Your Reaction


Justice and equality is the base of every religion and both the things are upside down in Afghanistan .

Raza, Canada
I think the only thing that can bring peace in that region is the real education or Islamic education. Justice and equality is the base of every religion and both the things are upside down in Afghanistan .
Raza, Canada

The only people that can bring peace to Afghanistan are well educated Afghans. What our country needs is a united council, made up of leaders from all the warring factions. The Russia and US have to be kept out of the equation. The USA and Russia in any situation does not equal peace. Afghanistan needs the help of other Muslim countries to help solve its own problems.
Masood Zahory, Afghanistan/USA

I must say Pakistan is not the only player in the Afghan conflict. Before it was Big Game between Great Britain and Russian empire. Now it is a global conflict. It is in US interests to keep open conflict in Afghanistan.
Jacob, USA

Limiting personal freedom IS a disaster. The South African government did this in the form of limiting the amount of Rand you could take out the country. With the Rand losing the value considerably in the last 5 years, this led many professionals frustrated that their hard work in a dangerous environment has gone relatively unpaid in a western world arena.
Kai Hendry, UK


For the sake of Afghani people this problem should be solved for once and all!

Prasad Kothare, India
Sure. For the sake of Afghani people this problem should be solved for once and all! But Pakistan is trying for "peace". This is a real comedy. Can you expect a country that has a military ruler and is consistently trying to create problems for the international community, will bring peace in any way in Afghanistan?
Prasad Kothare, India

Only Afghanistan's leaders and opposing factions can bring peace in their country. The key to peace lies with the Pakistan/Iran/Saudi Arabia/USA and UNO if they leave and let the Afghans themselves find the solution of their own problems and to find common ground on their differences.
Safdar Hamadani, UK

We are a very unique and proud people. Throughout history we have never accepted foreign rule and I we never will. Unfortunately foreigners know too well how to exploit the differences between us and manipulate us. You have to ask yourself who is fuelling the factional fire in Afghanistan? I hope that one day we come to our senses and I very much hope to see a united and prosperous Afghanistan.
Masood Soorie, Afghanistan

The Afghans should wake up and realise that the world is moving forward and they are moving back in time. The Taleban leaders are just hypocrites, no religion preaches hate and wants its followers to suffer. Taleban has brought nothing but suffering to the poor people of Afghanistan. Unless and until the people of Afghanistan realise that Pakistan and other countries are using them for their benefit, the situation will never change. The people have to realise that humanity comes first then religion. If they do not realise, then the developed countries should take over the country and build a new nation.
Sam, Pakistan


Afghanistan is hopeless. The nation, its people, will forever be ungovernable. Frankly, I think the nations of the world would be better-off preparing against Afghan-sponsored terrorism rather dabble on such an illusory concept such as peace in Afghanistan.

Norman, Philippines
The current situation in Afghanistan is a direct result of Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Russia was defeated, but nothing was done to rectify the ensuing problems of Afghanistan. Saudi money, American technology (Stinger missiles) and Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence and the blood of the Afghan freedom fighters defeated Russia. Russia should make reparations to Afghanistan just like Germany in the past and Iraq in the present.
Daud Sharif, US

The Russians should get together with the honourable M. Shah Massoud and invade again and do a better job this time. Who needs the Taleban? They're only there because of their violence and Pakistani support. They bring noting to the people and have to be got rid of. Then the Russians and Indians should attack Pakistan from two sides and get rid of this country spreading terrorism. The territory can go to India to whom it used to belong. Then India should enter in a voluntary union with Russia and become another soviet republic.
Filip, USA

The people of Afghanistan have been suffering for a long time. Every war has an end, but it should happen before anybody is left alive there. Someone should remind the US and Russia to clean up the mess they left in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Amir, Canada


As there is one Afghan left there will be hope.

Isma`el Khan Wardak, Austria
Everything that is happening in Afghanistan is due to the arrogance of imperialist America and Britain. Their only aim is to get access to the central Asian oil. They haven't been able to starve Iran and Iraq into submission and now the only hope is Afghanistan and they will succeed.
John, Australia

The oppressive Taleban wish to impose a doctrine more dreadful than the Nazis upon their people. We had a world war over the latter, and I believe that peace at any cost would be a betrayal of the ordinary Afghan.
John Atkins, Singapore

Peace in Afghanistan is merely an illusion and non-but Afghans themselves can bring about true peace. Any foreign nation even with the good intentions cannot implement their understanding of what is good for Afghans. Even if they do have good intentions still they have themselves to think about. Iran, Pakistan, USA, Russia and any of these nations are only interested for themselves. No one ever cared about Afghans. Never. USA and Soviet Union in particular turned Afghanistan into a gameboard. Two million Afghans lost their lives for what? So Soviet Union could be "consumed"?
Hayat Mehrzai, USA


Afghans first need an immediate cease-fire. Next they need to work out their differences in a neutral country

Hayat Mehrzai, USA
Afghans first need an immediate cease-fire. Next they need to work out their differences in a neutral country. Once they have worked out the differences, the U.N should be invited to monitor the cease-fire with the full support of all outside powers, including of course Pakistan and Iran. The key is that the Afghans have to take the initiative themselves upon realising that they are on a road to nowhere !!
Fawad, USA

It is said that half knowledge is much more dangerous than no knowledge ........ many of the reporting agencies do not seem to understand the Afghan culture. It is a culture that firmly believes in the concept of the "victor and the vanquished". There can be no peace in Afghanistan until a single party emerges as the clear winner of the conflict. The Taleban are close to achieving this goal, and given time they will succeed.
James Talal, Pakistan/USA

The Taleban is destroying Afghanistan. They are so bad that even the Iranian Hullahs are not supporting them. It is certain that the Taleban brought Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. I think Iran and Pakistan should take care of their own problems and let Afghanis and the UN to resolve this matter.
Hossein, Canada


We can point the finger at every country which is directly or indirectly involved in the conflict, but pointing the finger will not solve this human tragedy. The big powers have some responsibilities but the Afghan's should sit down and discuss this problem without any arms.

Max Hasan, USA
There is little or no hope for Afghanistan. For decades the victim of the "Great Game" played out between the imperialist powers, Afghanistan has been fought over by superpowers, factions and inward-looking clerics who seem determined to drag the country back to the Stone Age. Further, the society has been ravaged and the educated elite have either moved to other countries or have perished. The country is in tatters and can't be rescued without the UN and the powers-that-be investing in infrastructure etc. instead of arming and supporting the warring factions.
Srinivas Rangaraj, Canada

Only true democracy can bring peace in Afganistan and only Afgans can do that. The Afgans should realise that should sit down together and chalk out a plan, with the help of the UN. All that the Afgans need is a Mahatma Gandhi.
Vikas Naik, India

Peace can only come to Afghanistan when the primitivist and interventionist regime in Saudi Arabia stops using its proxies like Pakistan and others to spread its false and retrograde notions of Islam thoughout the world for its own cynical ends. In this manner funding would be cut to extremist and belligerent groups like the Taliban and more reasonable groupings would rise to the occaision.
Ron Klyver, Canada

On the whole, only the Afghans can bring peace to Afghanistan. Although the Afghans are divided and weak, they have to find a solution to their political and social problems. Afghanistan suffered greatly, partly because of Soviet aggression of 1979, partly because our neighbours have imperial and other wicked designs, and partly because we have failed to recognise our national interest. Finally, I do believe that it is primarily the Afghans' responsibility to get our act together, yet I also think that the international community also can play a positive role in ending this vicious and senseless civil war.
Abdul Wahed Faqiri, USA

The key to peace lies with the leaders of Afghanistan's opposing factions. The Pakistanis and Iranians should convince the Afghan leaders to reach common ground on their differences. Pakistan is suffering economically today because of the 3.5 million refugees from the war torn region, and the Pakistani people are as fed up with the flow of arms and munitions from across the border as are the Iranians with the drug trade.
Imran Siddiqi, USA

Pakistan can if it wishes. But to implement this wish they need to sacrifice their vested interests like dollars and military bases. Last but not the least they have to silence the Islamic clergies in their own country. This would indeed be a tough task for Gen. Musharraf. If, he accomplishes this, he would be in the history of being the best dictator.
Amit , USA/India

Nobody can bring real peace to Afghanistan. At best the tide is turned slightly if Pakistan stops supporting their favourite fanatics and Iran theirs.
Mikko Toivonen Finland

Pakistan has done its part-and suffered more than its fair share-in trying to bring peace to a country that seems to sink more deeply into the medieval era with every passing moment. The Pakistani people have paid a heavy cost for Islamabad's interest in Afghan issues since the Soviet occupation. The "kalashinkov culture," fundamentalism, and drugs that have become the primary problems of contemporary Pakistan can all be traced to its involvement in Afghanistan. Not to mention the burden of providing asylum to millions of Afghan refugees. For its part, Pakistan should realise that, as long as the Taleban control Kabul there will be no long-lasting peace in Afghanistan. Or within Pakistan.
Mohammed Zakir, USA

The Taleban are the only one who can bring real peace to Afghanistan. The Taleban should quickly get rid of the forces that are fighting against them. You have to see the Talebans are the only one who can unite all of Afghanistan.
Akram, USA/Pakistan

Only the Afghanis themselves. Ask any Soviet officer who served in Afghanistan in 1979-1989, and he would say they had no idea why they were sent there and how the conflict could be resolved. No third party, even the best-learned, intelligent and neutral can bring peace.
Andrej, Russia

It is true that only the Afghan can bring peace in Afghanistan. The world has seen it that previous governments were unable to bring peace in Afghanistan. Taleban has done a superb job in bringing peace to Afghanistan. They have saved their country from disintegration.
Adalt , US

Intervention by third parties have historically always been in self-interest, but the official version is always claiming altruism. Thus the interesting question is: Will the priesthood of Iran and the new Pakistani coupmakers profit most from war or peace in Afghanistan?
Johan Rönnblom, Sweden

Pakistan can bring temporary peace to Afganistan maybe but not lasting. If they wish to bring peace to Afganistan they must get rid of all te radical their. Their number one policy should be to get rid of the Taliban. But right now if we wish to make peace with them we must work with them.
Ayesha, Pakistan

Pakistan has done its part-and suffered more than its fair share in trying to bring peace to a country that seems to sink more deeply into the medieval era with every passing moment. The Pakistani people have paid a heavy cost for Islamabad's interest in Afghan issues since the Soviet occupation. The "kalashinkov culture," fundamentalism, and drugs that have become the primary problems of contemporary Pakistan can all be traced to its involvement in Afghanistan. Not to mention the burden of providing asylum to millions of Afghan refugees. For its part, Pakistan should realise that as long as the Taleban control Kabul, there will be no long-lasting peace in Afghanistan. Or within Pakistan.
Mohammed Zakir, USA

The current quagmire and civil war in Afghanistan probably has a historic dimension that has been exploited excessively by the governments of Pakistan and Iran as well as any one with enough vested interest to worth their while. The parables of present crisis could be observed in myriad of cases that are the consequence of the legacy of colonialsim as well as intra-mural strife. It is up to the people of Afghanistan to make their own peace rather than rely on foreigners who naturally and under any circumstance would sue their own pursuits, and after all the ground reality is the fact that they are the one's who lending their demons to the service of their antagonists.
Ali Ghafoori, Afghanistan

I believe that UN needs to get directly associated with either Iran or Pakistan. The West needs to get directly involved in the quandry.
Peter Crawford-Bolton, UK in US

Bringing peace to Afghanistan is now a daunting task. This is due to several factors unique to that area, including its geography, historical background, tribal society,no resources, prolong conflict with its material and human cost, a whole generation grown up only knowing how to fight and conflicting interests of all the neighbours particularly Pakistan and Iran. Only Afghans themselves one day have to realise that time has come to wake up from this nightmare and bring peace to their beloved homeland. Indeed a difficult task but hope is the little flicking light no matter how weak that we are counting on.
Hamid Hussain, USA

A casual study of the history of that area says that no one will be able to bring lasting peace to the region.
Richard T. Ketchum, USA


What the people of Afghanistan need is the freedom to choose their future for themselves.

Patrick Lewin, A Swede, living in the UK

The Afghans have suffered enough at the hands of outside powers seeking to impose their own order upon them. What the people of Afghanistan need is the freedom to choose their future for themselves, unmolested by the interests of neighbouring powers.
Patrick Lewin, A Swede, living in the UK

Afghanistan, the country broken-down on the rack of "super-power rivalry", is still struggling to get out of the mess, created by the former Soviet Union and the United States. It will be in the interest of Iran and Pakistan to demonstrate courage and wisdom, and bring a permanent settlement to the conflict in a desperate region.
Tajudeen Isiaka, Nigeria

This is a story of a generation that has suffered for the last 21 years. They have not been given the chance to live a normal life since the Russian invasion. By the time they got the freedom, their next generation was already prepared for the war for another ten years because that was the only thing they learned.
The Russians left behind a country with no formal government and political infrastructure, the ideal situation for the ethnic and sectarian factors to show up. The outsiders may have a lot to do with this because they did not help making a stable government and bring peace in the country. They did not help what was best for Afghanistan but they did what was best for them.
As the situation is going from bad to worse, it is becoming more and more important for Pakistan and Iran to co-operate in reducing the tensions between different groups and bring them closer. But the most importantly it's the Afghanis who should realise that the war with Russia is over now and they themselves have to define their future now, a future where they do not have to pass to the next generation what they have learned.
Syed Fowad, USA

Why is the world making fun of themselves and others? Why they are tricking Afghan people and themselves? My question is how Pakistan or Iran will bring peace to Afghanistan, these two countries are the main sources that led the afghan war with their own interests.
They don't want peace in Afghanistan and the history can prove it by itself. How they could bring peace to Afghanistan if they actually don't desire for it. They are happy with the Afghan war so they could boost their economies.
Ahmad Javed Ghafoor, USA

The interference by outsiders is the main reason for the continuous saga of Afghanistan. The internal reactionary forces are surely guilty of accommodating the outsiders. With the total collapse and dissolution of all civil and military institutions, a chaotic situation prevails throughout the country, with no functional government in charge.
All this can end if the two main principles of self-determination and respect for the national sovereignty of Afghanistan can be guaranteed. With a serious and sincere backing of the UN, the convening of a traditional Loya Jirga (Afghan Grand Assembly) can be arranged, allowing the non-combatant and the silent majority of Afghans to determine their future government and other affairs.
Farid Maiwandi, USA

See also:

09 Dec 99 | South Asia
19 Nov 99 | South Asia
02 Dec 99 | Middle East
10 Nov 99 | South Asia
15 Nov 99 | South Asia
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