An Enduring Lesson from the History of Peacemaking in Afghanistan


Peace processes offer opportune moments for social and political transformation in embattled nations. There is no perfect formula or peace recipe. As per the existing literature, the ‘ripeness’ of circumstances and timing of a peace process and pertinence of the ‘substance’ of settlements to the root causes of conflict are the main components of a viable peace agreement. In the past 30 years, Afghanistan experienced two unsuccessful peacemaking episodes: first after the

Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and the second following the removal of the Taliban in 2001. While failure of the former is primarily attributed to the complexities of circumstance at the time, ineptness of the latter is linked to the primacy of imposed deadlines over inclusive consultations and inadequacy of contents of the Bonn Agreement. By briefly examining substantive characteristics of peacemaking processes in the context of Najibullah’s National Reconciliation

Policy and the Bonn process, this article argues that meaningful structural change in favour of an inclusive and participatory political system and institutionalization

of a regional balance of interests in foreign relations remain central to enduring peace in Afghanistan.



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