The following paper is a critique of recent Liberal Peace inquiries on international peacebuilding that overlooks the initial stages of peace process: entry, peacemaking and political settlements. The Liberal Peace literature, while focusing on the main assumptions that often guide interventions like implementation processes and exit, largely neglects the entry stage. In another word, it has overlooked the importance of peacemaking and conflict resolution as an integral part of the peacebuilding process. This paper is an attempt to address this bias in the Liberal Peace literature by examining the outcome of the post-Bonn political settlement in Afghanistan.
Since the early 1990s, with the then Secretary General Boutros-Ghali's ambitious report on the UN role in peace and security entitled An Agenda for Peace (1992), UN peace operations have come to involve three main sequential principle activities: peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. And with further supplementary UN reports, such as An Agenda for Democratisation and An Agenda for Development, the peace process has merged approaches to peacebuilding, development, democratisation, human rights, and conflict resolution as part of one single discourse on humanitarian intervention.
Peacekeeping, on the other hand, is understood to involve monitoring of demobilisation and disarmament of combatants, resettling refugees, and supervising a transitional civilian authority. Peacebuilding engages with monitoring and ensuring the implementation of human rights agenda, national democratic elections, and economic development. However, this paper uses the concept of peacebuilding and applies it to all three sequential stages to address the underlying structural, relational and cultural roots of the conflict .
The first section of the paper discusses the main literature on peacebuilding, drawing on recent conflict resolution and transitional democracy literature. It attempts to incorporate conflict transformation literature to the peacebuilding concpet. The second section specifically examines the process of Bonn conference of Afghanistan. It analyses Bonn peacemaking along the following framework of analysis: 1) approaches in pursuit of peacemaking; 2) process of political settlement among competing elites; 3) outcome of the Conference and its consequences. It concludes by suggesting the failure of the Bonn Agreement has set into motion a chain of events that have serious negative consequences on the Post-Bonn peacebuilding process.
Timor Sharan is a British-Afghan and is pursuing a PhD at the University of Exeter focusing on post-conflict intervention and state-building in Afghanistan.