The Role of Afghan Diaspora in the Peace Process - Vienna Movement for Peace in Afghanistan

On July 15, 2021 a round table discussion was organized by the Universal Peace Federation of Austria in the city of Vienna. The round table discussion was attended by several Afghan Diaspora representatives, Mr. Fazull Mahmood Rahemee Pajwak, Counsellor from the Afghanistan Embassy in Vienna, Austrian based jurnalists, the chairwoman of KultEurasia, and some of the core personnel of UPF in Vienna. The round table was aimed to discuss the role of Afghan Diaspora in the peace process and their contribution in mitigating the crisis.

Mr. Peter Haider, the president of the Federation in Austria moderated the roundtable and expressed the commitment of the Federation in facilitating a potential Diaspora´s contribution to the peace process. In the opening remarks the Counsellor Rahemee Pajwak from the Embassy of Afghanistan in Austria spoke about the current situation in Afghanistan highlighting the unprecedented record of number of security incidents in the country, causing a humanitarian crisis and affecting the populations across the country. He expressed the commitment of the Afghan government to achieve a durable and sustainable peace. The opening remarks were followed by discussions from the participants on what could and should be contributed to the peace process in Afghanistan.

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The new U.S. administration led by President Joe Biden inherited a political deal with the Taliban to withdraw troops from Afghanistan that allows direct intra Afghan peace negotiations between the Taliban group, which is still enlisted in the UN black list, and the Western backed administration now led by president Dr. Ashraf Ghani. On June 25, 2021 in a bilateral meeting between President Joe Biden, President Ashraf Ghani, and Chairman Abdullah Abdullah, President Biden reconfirmed U.S. continuous support to the people of Afghanistan in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance, and provision of security assistance to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (White House Statement from June 25, 2021).

In parallel to the broken deal between the Taliban and the U.S., the violence level has tremendously increased across Afghanistan. According to the United Nations, around 270.000 Afghans were displaced recently due to the conflicts since January 2021 totalling to 3.5 million displaced Afghans. Additionally, 1.000 Afghans are fleeing the country every day. Reportedly, some of them may be fleeing to the EU too, taking the dangerous route (reports from DWD).

On July 15, 2021, the government of Afghanistan reported that 13 million Afghans are deprived of services because of the conflict, 260 public buildings were destroyed by the Taliban, and 50.000 civil servants were affected in the districts under conflicts (See reports from Tolonews) causing almost 500 million direct losses to the government of Afghanistan. Additionally, on July 17, 2021 the Tolonews reported that 22.000 households were displaced or fled Kandahar due to the ongoing conflict in the area and are deprived of basic services and live in a terrible condition (see reports from Tolonews). 

Concept for Action:

If nothing is done immediately, there will be a historic humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. A concept for action was drafted by Mr. Baktash Jami, MPM, MBA:

After the agreement to have a proactive Afghan diaspora´s role in the peace process, the participants defined the immediate intervention with organizing a diaspora to discuss two themes:

-         Immediate unconditional ceasefire

-         Holding the peace negotiations

Through an online conference (Vienna Movement for Peace in Afghanistan) the Afghan diaspora will be discussing the above topics. Given the fact that nobody is against the above two themes, the conference will be considered as a starting point to run a petition to get Afghan diaspora’s feedback. The petition will be shared to as many Afghan diaspora as possible globally. The result of petition will be shared with all relevant stakeholders namely the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban as the direct parities involved, and the national, regional, and international actors such as United Nations, NATO, countries with direct involvement and influence on the Taliban such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia, China, etc.

In the medium and long term, the Afghan diaspora will be engaging with the relevant stakeholders and advocate peace, which is the basic need of every global citizen.

Additional information was provided by Dr. Ali Ahmad who is active contributor to the Afghan Diaspora Network: