March 2018, will be a historic month for Indonesia in its effort to bring peace to Afghanistan. Ulema or Islamic clerics from Afghanistan will meet those from Pakistan, including from the Taliban, in Jakarta, Indonesia. The meeting of clerics from the three countries; Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia, is a follow-up of President Joko Widodo and Vice President Yusuf Kalla’s visits to Afghanistan some time ago.
The plan to gather the clerics from Afghanistan and Pakistan was discussed during a follow-up meeting between Vice President Yusuf Kala, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Central Executive of the Indonesian Ulema Council, last week. It was decided that not only from the governments but also from Taliban elements are to be invited in the upcoming meeting.As is known, armed conflict in Afghanistan has not subsided, especially with the presence of Taliban militia and the Daulah Islamiyah movement.
The question is, will the meeting in Jakarta immediately resolve the armed conflict and the violence that occurred in Afghanistan? Armed conflict in Afghanistan, does not involve the scholars directly. But this conflict has taken lots of casualties among security forces, Taliban militia and Daulah Islamiyah jihadists as well as civilians. The presence of foreign parties in Afghanistan on the grounds of securing the situation, does not seem to solve the problem.
The conflict in Afghanistan continues to occur not only because of the political reason but also due to the difference in ideology or sects related to Islam which is the religion of that State. From the aspect of ideology or religious approach, it seems that the role of ulama needs to be optimized. In this perspective, although not necessarily solve the problem instantly, this inter-clerical meeting can be one way of realizing peace in Afghanistan. The clerics in Afghanistan and Pakistan can see the condition in Indonesia as well as observing the role and position of ulama in maintaining a conducive situation in this predominantly Muslim country,
The results of the discussions and agreements to be reached at the clerical meetings in Jakarta, could be a new starting point for further dialogue in Afghanistan, which will discuss technical issues and tactical strategies in realizing peace. Indonesia's credibility and experience in pioneering peace has been proven.In Cambodia for example, Indonesia succeeded in initiating peace talks that eventually were realized. In addition, the role of ulama in Indonesia in maintaining a condusive and united situation can also be a concrete example on how the ulama playing their roles.