The EastWest Institute released a report laying out several recommendations for rebuilding regional cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan following Afghanistan’s National Consultative Peace Jirga. The report, Seeking Solutions for Afghanistan: A Report on the Abu Dhabi Process, discusses the first in a series of off-the-record meetings facilitated by the EastWest Institute and hosted by the government of Abu Dhabi to reinstitute open communication and trust between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bringing together Afghan and Pakistani politicians, diplomats, scholars and former military officials, the meetings seek to build confidence, ensure stability, and enhance regional development.
“There is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. A dialogue leading to political settlement should therefore begin soon,” the report concludes.
Among the report's key recommendations: the use of open dialogue to solve the conflict in Afghanistan, rather than the use of military force; the active pursuit of delisting selected Taliban leaders; the continuation of the Abu Dhabi Process to help build trust between Afghanistan and Pakistan and create strategies towards a political settlement.
The report points out the need to address the bilateral trust deficit at three levels: senior government, the wider bureaucracy and civil society: “Both Afghanistan and Pakistan may wish to consider the appointment of a respected personality from each country to a senior position solely dedicated to the bilateral relationship.”
"The quality of the Afghan-Pakistani relationship is a decisive factor for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and stability and development in the region," added Guenter Overfeld, EWI Vice President and Director of Regional Security. "A fundamental lack of trust has persisted and has prevented substantive cooperation and collaboration."