The relationship between Sufism and Sikhism dates back to the time of Guru Nanak (1469-1539), who led a modest life of profound, spiritual devotion, focused on building bridges of love, tolerance, co-existence, and harmony among peoples of diverse faiths and socio-economic status. So immersed in piety and teaching his disciples to live spiritually, honestly, and harmoniously was the Guru, that many of his Muslim contemporaries, especially Sufis, called him a true Muslim.Continue reading
Category: South Asia
In a recent New York Times op-ed, “What Trump Needs to Learn from Vietnam,” David Elliot draws lessons from America’s experience in Vietnam for Afghanistan. His opinion follows those of a few others, who have similarly argued over the past 16 years that Afghanistan has slowly turned into America’s Vietnam, a quagmire, from which the United States must disengage. While studying the complexity of Vietnam War remains interesting for academics and policymakers, it offers no relevant lessons for international engagement in Afghanistan.Continue reading
Recently, this author was invited to a track 1.5 China-Afghanistan-Pakistan symposium on “Tackling Terrorist Threats, Jointly Safeguarding Regional Security” in Beijing. The rare trilateral symposium was welcomed by the three sides as a good opportunity to exchange views and to offer tangible, policy and operational solutions for the consideration of their respective governments to help them address jointly the intertwined threats of terrorism, extremism, and criminality in the region. The discussions were so constructive on the seminal role, which major regional stakeholders can play to stabilise Afghanistan, that the absence of an Indian delegation was needfully felt around the table.Continue reading
At the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani discussed the threats posed by “destructive change” and the countless opportunities offered by “creative change” in the Eurasian landscape and its emerging continental economy. He told his counterparts that “our greatest common project is the revival of the Silk Roads,” whose main gateway is Afghanistan, connecting Central and South Asia and the Middle East.
What is the main purpose of the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation?
President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah re-launched the Kabul Process in June 2017. The principal purpose of the process is to ensure an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, inclusive peace process where we are fully in the driver’s seat to address the multiple dimensions of ongoing war and violence in Afghanistan. But we know this is impossible without results-driven regional and international cooperation. Since its re-launch, the Kabul Process has been recognized as an overarching platform, under which all other peace initiatives and efforts take place to support Afghanistan in our quest for genuine, lasting peace. Because the success of the process hinges on sincere regional cooperation, we continue to call on our neighbors and partners in the region to develop measures necessary to end violence and to forge sustainable peace in Afghanistan. Doing so, we strongly believe, should create positive dividends for the entire region. Continue reading
Landlocked countries like Afghanistan are at a great disadvantage over their littoral neighbors with access to sea for regional and global trade. Naturally, the peace, security, and prosperity of landlocked countries depend on those of their surrounding neighbors. Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, the Afghan government has repeatedly communicated this fact to Afghanistan’s six neighbors, reaffirming its commitment to noninterference in the affairs of others, as well as allowing no country to use Afghanistan’s soil against its neighbors.
Syria, North Korea, and Yemen have largely dominated headlines. But Afghanistan also remains in the global conscience. If anything, the much-needed international focus on the campaign against the Taliban has outlined how difficult the fight has become, despite our steady military gains. Frustrated with what many are mistakenly calling a quagmire, international commentators either advocate for a quick-fix peace deal to withdraw from Afghanistan or engaging in a more intense military campaign. The latter is an understandable response, but even so, it is far from a complete remedy.
In “The U.S. Needs to Talk to the Taliban” a New York Times op-ed run on March 19, Borhan Osman mistakenly reduces the popularly elected National Unity Government (NUG) of Afghanistan to one of the internal “factions.” To the contrary, the NUG enjoys a broad popular mandate and support. Like any democracy, Afghanistan is hardly devoid of political differences, which underpin the very essence of democracy: recall tensions in the U.S. two-party system or in the multiparty coalition governments of Europe.Continue reading