PESHAWAR - A positive intent of the regional countries and a multi-ethnic democratic government is a key towards ending the conflict in Afghanistan and reestablish peace in the region, said former ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand.

He was addressing a workshop titled “Peace and Conflict Resolution in the 21st Century” held under the auspices of Staff Training Institute, University of Peshawar.  The workshop was jointly organised by Staff Training Institute, UoP, Al-Farabi Council for Citizen Diplomacy Pakistan and Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA).  The former political agent Rustam Shah said that presence of coalition forces is one of the biggest causes of conflict in Afghanistan, adding that until their withdrawal, peace would remain to be an elusive dream in the country.

“The US and its allies till date have spent around 57 billion dollars for socio-economic development in Afghanistan but little can been seen on ground and today we see 1000 Afghans every day go towards the Iranian border for earning a piece of bread. The unemployment stands at 35 per cent; sanitation is available to only 30 per cent of masses; intense insurgency prevails in 24 provinces affecting almost 70 per cent of the population in Afghanistan,” he added.

Shah said that American imperialistic arrogance has made the life of an ordinary Afghan miserable.

He observed that the Al-Qaeda had been made a tool to launch attack on the already war-affected country.

America has suffered 58 thousand forces in Vietnam and 1900 in Afghanistan, but they have not learnt from this experience and it seems unlikely that they would withdraw from here in the coming ten years, he added.

About the American deal with the Taliban, he said Taliban had agreed to the basic condition of not extending support to Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan whose updated number according to the American officials is hovering around a mere 50 persons only. But at the same time, the parallel approach of strategic partnership with other countries by US may sabotage all the peace efforts, he warned.

Certain factions among the civil society are being used a propaganda tool to spread the message of legitimising stay of US and allied forces, he maintained. Shah blamed the government for poor policies, saying that they were the root causes of insurgency in Fata.

He added that the response of an army general after 9/11 over a telephone call to become a coalition partner of US on their pre condition has led to total destruction of civilian life and institutions over there.

He rejected the notion that Pakistan at that time was given a threat by the then US govt to be hostile to Pakistan and return them back to the Stone Age if they had not become an ally.

“We are body checked and searched by security personnel within our own country as if they are patriots and we are suspects. Why we as civilians can’t check them because they can be equally suspects as some data and cases has revealed,” said Prof Dr Jahan Manan.

He urged the need for a balance among citizen-state rights and responsibilities to end conflicts.