The Bonn Conference reminds the world of the active role of Germany at decisive stages, again! The conference was held to provide a road map for the development and re-construction of Afghanistan. The agenda was inclined to strengthen the pre-transition 2014 situation to give sustainability to the post-transition era. The United States entered Afghanistan after September 11 attacks and now wants an acceptable magnitude of stability in the landlocked country. But Pakistan boycotted the conference because of the US led NATO strike on its soil. The attack – which left 24 Pakistani soldiers killed at Salala checkpost, Mohmand Agency – took place barely a month before this significant seating at Bonn.
Bonn, the former capital of West Germany, is also called UN city. It was the meeting place of international actors with Taliban under UN auspices in 2001: Bonn Agreement. Germany is emerging as a major party in the current international debate pertaining to the war against terrorism. Today’s Germany, a country of 82 million, has a history full of tides. But at every stage – regional or international – Germany has been a major player in the arena. The country is dated as fragile with divisions, bruised with European ironies, heavy with the loss of WWI, stubborn with Nazism and she succumbed to the defeat in WWII. Even its flag says about its land, black with soot of history and red with the blood of wars but finally golden with progress.
No matter what the circumstances, bad or feasible, Germany continued its role as a key member and a catalyst at different occasions. The reunified country’s pledge to not abstain from military purposes was the need of the hour because in a global war, one cannot fight with marigolds. The country is eager to provide good offices for mediating with Taliban and efforts are to be continued. Paul Lehrieder, a member of the German parliament, told a media correspondent that he had met the Taliban’s former foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Mutwakal along with other Taliban leaders in Berlin last week and discussed a roadmap for peace in Afghanistan in detail. Lehrieder is a member of the German parliament’s South Asia Friendship Group.
Another German diplomat revealed that former Taliban official Tayab Agha, a close relative of Mullah Omar, was also engaged by the Germans to bring about peace, but the NATO bombing in Pakistan had created many complications.
I got the chance to meet Mr. Lehrieder during my trip to Germany in 2011. He was quite optimistic about offering an olive branch to Pakistan. About the partnership between the two previously estranged countries (Pakistan and Germany) he said, ‘we can help you industrially, socially and strategically.’ To a question by one student of our delegation he replied annoyingly that Pakistan should not blame the US for her problems, as it takes aid from the US.
Gaining pace in the process of assisted negotiations, Germany has asserted its role. Earlier changes in Europe saw Germany as a gigantic voice. It can be said that the element of being decisive is inherent in her veins. As the US has realized, the solution lies with conflict management rather than eradicating the adversary, the superpower will be seeking an assisting hand from Germany. Looking in the past reads, ‘many battles stop at Germany.’ Now it is the time when the bottle (itself) stops at Germany.
Mohammad Qaseem Saeed is a student of International Relations, University of Karachi.