“We are ready to go the extra mile. We are even willing to become guarantors for any peace agreement,” said a senior Pakistani official, who requested not to be named because of sensitivity of the issue, Express Tribune reported.
The official said Pakistan has been facilitating Afghan led and Afghan owned peace talks. “But if talks make progress and all sides agree, then Pakistan has no problem in playing its role beyond that of a facilitator,” he said.
Pakistan recently hosted the first-ever direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives at the popular tourist resort of Murree near Islamabad. Senior officials from Pakistan, China and the United States also attended the closed-door talks suggesting that the Murree process had the backing of all major international players.
During the talks, the Afghan side demanded immediate ceasefire from the Afghan Taliban. However, the Taliban reportedly agreed to cease fire if Islamabad and Beijing become ‘guarantors’ to ensure that a ‘United National Government’ will be formed in Afghanistan. Another official said China is also ready to provide guarantees if all the negotiating parties accept this arrangement. Following the Murree talks, China had hinted at playing a more proactive role in brokering a peace deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
A statement issued by the Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing was ready to work with relevant parties and play a constructive role in achieving broad and inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
The next round of talks is expected to take place in China later this month. As a result of forward movement in Murree talks, the next phase of negotiations will be led by the Afghan foreign minister.
The two sides are expected to discuss substantive issues in the next round as a result of the recent endorsement of the peace process by Afghan Taliban’s leader Mullah Omar.
Why a peace deal in Afghanistan is so important for Pakistan and China?
So, with the new statement from Pakistan and China being ready to become “Guarantors” of a peace deal between Afghan Government and Taliban, it seems like the two countries/ Pakistan and China are really doing their best for a peace deal to be achieved between two sides, even if it costs the Afghan government to share soils with its a decade-old enemy.
Pakistan should woo China’s investment in Pakistan, it has to guarantee China of the region’s stability, so that then China could pour its investment in Pakistan without any concern.
On the other hand, China being worried about its money in Afghanistan and Pakistan is making use of any pressure leverages to put an end over region’s instability. Additionally, it worries that Uighur militants — which according to Beijing have been responsible for a number of recent violent attacks in China — are exploiting an unstable environment to carve out sanctuaries.
In effect, both Pakistan and China seriously need peace in Afghanistan, and they appear willing to give what it takes for a stable region.