No Illusions, Nor Disappointments
“Uzbekistan got out of the world isolation, while Russia and the United States continued to argue, and no one at the Afghanistan conference in Tashkent noticed the absence of the Taliban.” One can come across such comments in the internet these days. And
To begin with, we ought to bear in mind that the conference was originally conceived of as a negotiation platform, whose partakers would drive the opposing forces in Afghanistan to start a political settlement and the intra-Afghan negotiation process. Such was the stance of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto. At the conference, he appealed to the states in contact with the Taliban to influence the movement in the talks progression: countries that have contacts with the Taliban should use those ties to urge them to negotiate for peace, the UN official asserted.
In this regard, none of the 26 delegations present in Tashkent - including India, Pakistan and Iran - had exacting illusions about the consequences, wrote the French Le Monde. “All previous initiatives had failed, and the Taliban, according to many participants, now control half of the country. Well, there are no illusions, nor disappointments. But there is this conference as a sign of willingness of Tashkent to be a trustworthy and reliable platform for peaceful intraAfghan talks, which can hardly be denied. In addition, according to the experts themselves, this is quite a lot, considering that no other world capital can serve as a meeting place for the opposing Afghans, which would be equally acceptable for the conflicting parties and external cosponsors of the peace process. “We are ready to deliver – at any stage of the peace process – everything essential for the organization of direct talks in the territory of Uzbekistan between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban,” the paper quotes the host of the forum, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Another key point of the conference, a revelation even for experienced diplomats, was President Ashraf Ghani’s statement that Afghanistan is a Central Asian country. For many, the words of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Abdulaziz Kamilov, sound now clearer than ever: for us, he said, peace in Afghanistan is our life, while for some, it is perhaps only an interesting process. After all, not every conference participating nation adjoins Afghanistan and can therefore easily understand the wisdom of the proverb “You can have peace when your neighbor is at peace”. Therefore, there is no reason to doubt the purity of Tashkent’s intentions, which sincerely believes that the meeting that took place will help to extinguish the long-standing Afghan conflict. “If there is an end to the violence, it will be a universal victory and no one’s defeat.” There may hardly be an expert who does not agree with such a message of the Tashkent conference.