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‘Time to engage with Afghanistan to stave off civil war’, says Peter Jouvenal

ISLAMABAD: ‘The worst you could do was to walk away as happened in 1989, and the best was to engage in a friendly manner, said Peter Jouvenal, a British TV Producer and Former Video Journalist.

The history of Afghanistan was replete with mistakes committed by the international community said the British Journalist, adding that turning back on Afghanistan has always resulted in civil wars, deaths of many Afghans, and conflict spillover to regional countries. Backing selected groups in Afghanistan and neglecting other potential stakeholders was also a big mistake that regional countries made in the past, and we were in a similar position today, he cautioned.

Peter Jouvenal was invited by the Institute of Regional Studies to talk on the post-Taliban takeover and its implications for the west. The session took place virtually.

For Jouvenal, it was neither an end nor the beginning of a conflict in Afghanistan, rather, regime change was a new chapter added to the long turbulent history of Afghanistan. While sharing his thoughts on the new government in Afghanistan, Mr. Jouvenal said that there were challenges ahead since the Taliban government was not inclusive, but it had a kind of legitimacy of being honest as compared to the previous one that was notoriously corrupt.

The culture of sitting down and trying to resolve their differences in Afghanistan was an added advantage to the Taliban where one can hope they could reach some sort of understandings among differing factions said Mr. Jouvenal, adding that the international community needed to be encouraged that consultation processes. Commenting on the transition of the Taliban, Mr. Jouvenal said that it was time taking process, and could not be swift as the Taliban were passing through the trauma of the past twenty years of war and this was another area where friends of Afghanistan could encourage the Taliban, he added.

On governance, Mr. Jouvenal suggested that responsibilities be given on the basis of technical knowledge rather than war contributions as this had been a practice in the past, and such practices had caused massive brain-drain in Afghanistan, he added. He also suggested that the Taliban should pay more attention to broad-based representation since the international community at the moment was keen to see a breakthrough in that regard.

Mr. Jouvenal was hoping that the international community would not repeat the past mistakes and start pursuing the new government in a more positive manner.

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