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Canada needs diplomatic presence in Afghanistan: ex-ambassador

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Muhammad Jawad
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Advocating for a Diplomatic Return to Afghanistan: An Undivided Perspective

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Tentative Truancy: The Ex-Envoy's Call

A distinguished former ambassador, who once represented Canada in Afghanistan, has recently proposed that it might be time for diplomats to make their return to Kabul to engage directly and diplomatically with the Islamic Emirate. In an enlightening conversation with a national broadcaster, the former diplomat, Arif Lalani, voiced his thoroughly-held belief that Canada should have never withdrawn its diplomatic presence, arguing instead that presence on the ground serves to address underlying local concerns a more productive and immediate manner.

(Read Als0: Crisis Deepens: Healthcare System in Kabul Crumbles as Demands Increase)

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Reflecting on the Diplomatic Practice: Contextual Details

Lalani's opinions on the matter offer an insightful perspective on the complexities of international diplomacy, particularly in conflict-ridden nations. His diplomatic service has been vast and varied; he served as Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008, and has also been the top Canadian diplomat in Jordan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. This diverse range of diplomatic service affords him unique insights into the intricacies of diplomatic relations in different geopolitical landscapes.

Negotiation from a Distance: An Effective Strategy?

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"I think withdrawing your forces and then negotiating is not a good strategy," Lalani opined, questioning the wisdom behind negotiating from a distance. Lalani vocally expressed concerns over the current approach, stating, "If we left because of our own security, we should demand that our security is protected and we should be back on the ground."

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Impending Immediate Actions: Elevating Women's Status

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Part of his assessment focused on the restrictions presently facing girls and women in Afghanistan. Noting what he perceived as sluggishness in responses by the West, he voiced that it is "not acting urgently enough" to lift these restrictions. From his perspective, the urgent needs of the situation demand swift and decisive action, underscoring the importance of bringing about improvements for this demographically significant segment of the society.

Leveraging Diplomatic Ties for Change

With regard to leveraging diplomatic ties for effecting change, Lalani expressed his belief that Canada would be more equipped to aid Afghans if it were to reestablish diplomatic ties with the Islamic Emirate, using aspects such as humanitarian assistance as leverage. His point illustrates the strategic potential of diplomacy as both a tool for dialogue and a conduit to deliver relief to those in need.

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Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

Emphasizing the complex nature of the challenges in Afghanistan, Lalani pointedly said: "There are no good easy answers in Afghanistan, but it's time for us to take some tough decisions." His call urges for a renewed commitment from diplomats and policymakers alike, to work through these challenges and turn crisis into an opportunity for dialogue and development. Such a brave outlook highlights the need for adaptable and resilient diplomacy in rapidly changing geopolitical landscapes.

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Implications for the Future

As the international community continues to grapple with the best ways to approach the situation in Afghanistan, perspectives like Lalani's shed light on potential paths forward. His call for a diplomatic return to Afghanistan is not just about the presence of diplomats on the ground, it's a call for a more engaged, committed, and empathetic approach to the challenges faced by the country. Time will ultimately tell, whether the diplomatic corps worldwide would heed this call or not.

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