Indonesias interest in Afghanistans peace

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Less than a month since President Joko Widodos visit to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on January 29, it is now Vice President Jusuf Kallas turn to pay a visit to the country that is still being plagued by armed conflicts.

With a handful of experiences in resolving armed conflicts in the country, Kalla came to Afghanistan as a special guest in the Kabul Peace Process Conference that will take place in Afghanistans capital city, Kabul, on February 28.

The Vice President took off with the Presidential aircraft and headed to Kabul on Tuesday.

Aside from attending the conference, Kalla was also scheduled to take on a number of meetings, including ones with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of the Afghanistan High Peace Council Mohammad Karim Khalili.

During the visit, the Vice President is accompanied by a number of government officials, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno LP Marsudi, who had left for Kabul earlier, and Deputy Chief of the National Police Force Commissioner General Syafruddin.

The Kabul Peace Process Conference is taking place amids the armed conflict that is still going on in the country.

On February 23 evening, Reuters News Agency reported that Taliban guerrillas had attached the Afghan army base in Farah, a province in the Western side of Afghanistan, killing 18 army personnel and two members of the Taliban.

On the next day, a suicide bomber carried out a terrorism attack on a street in Kabul, near a NATO mission headquarters in Afghanistan. The attack killed one person and left six others wounded.

The Islamic State militant group had claimed the attack as their responsibility, as reported through their news agency, Amaq.

On the same day, at least one was killed and 8 others were injured in a suicide bombing incident in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of Helmand province.

The city of Kabul have been under high alert status since the suicide bombing incident ,carried out by the Taliban, took place on January 27. An ambulance, filled with explosives was detonated, million more than 100 people and left at least 235 others wounded.

A week prior, a number of guerrillas carried out a violent act in a hotel in Kabul, killing 20 people dead, including four US nationals.

The rate of violence act in Afghanistan had gone up ever since US President Donald Trump revealed a more aggressive strategy they planned to implement in August last year.

The squad, led by the US, would carry out more air strikes, to which the Taliban responded with bombing attacks, ambushes and raids.

The Taliban was reportedly fighting to push out Asian troops and implement their version of strict Islamic rules.

According to the data released by the United Nations, more than 10,000 Afghan citizens have been killed and or wounded due to the wave of violence carried out through out 2017.

The number of deaths among citizens in 2017 have reached 3,438 people, while those who were injured reached 7,015 people. Most of them were victims of a series of bombings by insurgents, while air strikes by the United States also caused a large toll.

Despite such a colossal number of casualties, it was noted that the number had experienced a 9 percent decrease compared to the year prior, however, the number of deaths due to bombing incidents, carried out by violent groups, rose significantly.

The deadliest attack since 2009, which was when the UN started taking records of civil casualties, happened on May 31 last year, in which a suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives, killing 92 civilians and wounded 491 others.

Anti-government guerrillas were responsible for two thirds of the total victims last year. The Taliban contributed in about 42 percent of them, while the IS contributed in 10 percent. The resent of 13 percent was due to the acts of unknown groups.

Meanwhile, government squads were responsible for the one fifth of the total casualties. 16 percent of which was due to the act of troops of the Afghan government, and the other one percent was from an unidentified group.

Furthermore, air strikes from foreign troops caused the death of six percent of civilians in 2017 with 295 deaths and 336 injured. This number indicated a seven percent increase compared to the year prior.

As a matter of fact, battles on land still contributed to the second most deaths, which is a 19 percent decrease from the highest number showed in 2016.

Indonesia was chosen

On February 12, Vice President Jusuf Kalla, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno LP Marsudi, received delegations of the Afghanistan High Peace Council, accompanied by Afghan Ambassador to Indonesia Roya Rahmani.

The meeting was a follow up measure from the discussion on the materialisation and peace process in Afghanistan, in which the Indonesian government is giving the effort its full support.

The Afghan delegations believed that Indonesia could be trusted and received well, in giving their contributions towards the peace process in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Jusuf Kalla made a number of statements during the occasion, one of which said that the Afghan government had invited him to share his experience in handling conflicts, as well as the recovery phase post the conflict itself.

Moreover, Indonesias role to help accelerate the peace process in Afghanistan is also very much sought after, as Indonesias presence could be accepted by all parties in the country.

The delegations from Afghanistan had also came to Indonesia several times, and were very grateful for President Joko Widodos state visit to Kabul on January 29. They also showed an interest in gaining the knowledge of Indonesias experience in resolving conflict.

Indonesia was elected by Afghanistan to assist in the realization of peace there as the former is deemed to bear no interest towards or against the latter.

Kalla is not worried about the security threat in Afghanistan, following the ongoing number of bomb attacks that killed many people. The Vice President commented that one should not enter a conflict zone, should they are fearful of such phenomenon.

With the experience of resolving conflicts in Poso, Ambon and Aceh, all of which also left numerous casualties, Kalla was confident in resolving the conflict, at the same time praying for the best results. Good intentions could only bring good results, he believed.

A similar attitude was also shown by President Joko Widodo during his time in Kabul. Although the country is plagued by armed conflicts, his presence in the country served as a diplomacy act, showing that the country is still safe and can eventually reach peace.

Indonesias interest is to create peace on Earth. If a conflict-ridden nation calls for Indonesias role to help with the realization of peace, then with its active free politics, Indonesia should fulfill its calling to bring about peace.

Source: ANTARA News