Atmar Heads for Beijing in Push For Peace

atmar-18-2016

Afghanistan’s national security advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar, who is in China, will hold talks with Chinese officials on the issue of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

The peace talks process hit a deadlock early last month despite domestic and international efforts to get the resurgent group to renounce violence and attend the talks.

Atmar is hoping to draw on Chinese influence to get the peace talks efforts back on track – after the Taliban refused to attend a face-to-face dialogue unless preconditions were met by the Afghan government.

The hoped-for peace talks with the Taliban gathered fresh momentum following the establishment of the National Unity Government under President Ashraf Ghani and his CEO Abdullah Abdullah, however, these efforts have so far failed to yield results.

Meanwhile, Atmar and Chinese officials are expected to focus on arrangements for a fourth Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) meeting.

While Atmar tries to seek a wider Chinese engagement in the stalled process, analysts however have lashed out over government’s peace strategy, arguing that neither the Taliban nor the government are resolute in their stance to broker meaningful talks and end the ongoing turmoil in the war-torn nation.

“The Afghan people must be cautious and take the lead in settling down the war and saving themselves from those fighting a proxy war in their territory. Neither the current government nor the previous government, its foreign partners along with the peace council have the potential to restore peace in the country,” political commentator Musa Farivar said.

In reference to critics’ statements meanwhile, the office of the national security advisor has defended his trip.

“During the tour, discussions will be held on enhancing political ties, Chinese military cooperation for security forces and the peace process,” Atmar’s spokesman Tawab Ghorzang said.

It is believed that with China’s economic and political reputation in international affairs, Beijing retains enough potential to help Afghanistan bolster peace efforts.

“China is an economic power in the region and it wields influence in the political and economic arena. I firmly believe that if the Afghan government takes steps, China will help us restore security,” former governor of Kabul, Abdul Jabbar Taqwa said.

Atmar’s visit to China comes just a week after the Taliban announced the start of its spring offensive, code named Omari. His visit also comes amid heightened tension within the country, as security forces battle insurgents on at least 15 fronts.

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