Incremental Peace in Afghanistan
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How can international partners provide effective support for a political process in Afghanistan?
A political solution to the armed conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban must be Afghan-led. But international support is essential to build momentum and resilience.
There is a compelling moral and practical case to convince Western allies to work collaboratively and strategically, using their collective leverage to persuade conflict parties to engage in talks. A viable approach must acknowledge the multi-tiered realities of the war, operating nationally, bilaterally and regionally, and also the incremental political logic of conflict resolution, working through a step-by-step process from informal dialogue and confidence-building, to military de-escalation and formal negotiations.
Lessons from past peacemaking efforts stress the need for: 1) a peace process necessitating a long-term commitment; 2) strategic prioritisation, to coordinate activities towards a common political goal; and 3) third- party facilitation, excluding external states currently operating in Afghanistan.