There is a widely held belief that if the current diplomacy works in the context of the Afghan peace process, it will lead to a durable peace in Afghanistan. But as a matter of fact, peace can never be entirely imposed from the outside. It needs to be supplemented with several measures at the domestic level, including the transformation of all those institutional structures that facilitate the social injustices, since it is these institutionalized injustices that necessitate the employment of violent means.

For Johan Galtung, the foremost founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies, a positive or a sustainable peace as opposed to the mere absence of war can only be achieved when all kinds of violence - cultural, structural and direct - are rooted out. Galtung further suggests that structural violence emanating from institutionalized injustices and the denial of the basic human needs is directly related to the instances of direct violence. Having said that, it is highly understandable to argue that as long as the basic human needs are denied and injustices continue to exist, Afghanistan will remain mired in war.

Today, structural violence in Afghanistan is most evident in the governmental institutions where power and wealth are consolidated in the hands of a few people while marginalizing others and in the form of the unequal distribution of wealth between the urban and rural areas. Moreover, the human rights violations in Afghanistan is another grave concern today, and given the massive human rights violations perpetrated in Afghanistan, it has still not been able to become a candidate for the United Nations human rights council.

Marginalization was one of the significant causes of the emergence of a civil war in Afghanistan in the 90s. Similarly, notwithstanding the fact that in the aftermath of 9/11, the presidents in Afghanistan have been of the Pashtun ethnicity but the Pashtuns still remained rather marginalized in the state’s economic, political, security and the military institutions. This led to a steady gravitation of the alienated Pashtuns towards the ranks of the Taliban. Also, certain discriminatory practices such as repressive violence were exercised against the Pashtuns only to add fuel to the fire. The resulting grievances there forth made the use of violence a natural choice for the marginalized Pashtuns.

This structural violence is not only limited to the domestic level but is also evident at the global level, in the way global development policies exacerbate the unequal distribution of wealth and thereby create inequitable conditions within the individual states that encourage the masses to turn to the employment of violent means in order to get their voices heard. Hence, as Galtung suggests, equity and equality as well as mutual benefits are the way towards achieving a positive peace.

Given the fact that the Islamic State-Khorasan province aims to re-establish the Islamic caliphate beginning with South and Central Asia, it can be expected that it might become even more aggressive in the years to come so as to achieve its agenda having far flung implications for the region as a whole. And there is a risk that as long as structural violence continues to exist in Afghanistan, Afghan individuals and even the members of the Taliban might be forced to join the ranks of the ISKP.  ISIS as a force has been widely successful in advancing its recruitment strategy in Syria as well as Iraq given the repressive and unjust practices of the rulers which led to a complete lack of confidence among the masses in the capacity of the Arab leaders to rule them with justice. Moreover, in Syria, it was the opposition against President’s Alawite sect and the marginalization of the Sunnis that heightened the appeal for the Islamic State’s Salafist ideology-one that repudiates Shi’ism. Further, ISIS in certain areas was also successful in providing the public services that were being denied by the government. The same could be the case in Afghanistan where there would be a steady flow of recruits to the ranks of the Islamic State-Khorasan province as long as the expectations of the Afghan people are not met, thereby increasing the former’s buoyancy in the Afghan quagmire. Although Taliban have assured the US that it would not allow the Afghan soil to be used by other terrorist groups but as a matter of fact, the commitment will remain unachievable until the ever-growing appeal for ISKP is countered.

Hence, the prospects for an enduring peace in Afghanistan will remain dim until a more representative form of government is emerged from the peace process - one that amalgamates all the ethnicities of a Kaleidoscopic Afghanistan - and an inclusive society is established. It needs to be ensured that the new political set up in Afghanistan does not end up being a catalyst for another chapter of violence. Further, the Afghan reconstruction process should involve a significant sum of money to be spent in meeting people’s basic needs and for the fulfillment of their human rights for the reason that national security and stability to a larger extent is conditioned upon the provision of human security. For this purpose, the neighbouring countries need to develop plans in order to meet the development requirements of a war-torn Afghanistan that essentially focus on the promotion of human development. Along with this, several empowerment programs shall be launched particularly for the deprived segments of the Afghan society. Such programs will also generate economic growth and thereby improve the socio-economic conditions within Afghanistan that itself is another prerequisite for attaining a sustainable or a positive peace. All in all, the aforementioned policies will ultimately provide a means for addressing the root causes of the conflict in Afghanistan.