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Security stand guard near the site of attack near the Bagram Air Base in Parwan province of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. A powerful suicide bombing Wednesday targeted an under-construction medical facility near Bagram Air Base, the main American base north of the capital Kabul, the U.S. military said. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Editorial: Leash the insurgents!

The recent massive attack on Bagram Airfield resulted in the killing of two people and injured 80 others. Sadly, the dreadful attack threw a wrench into the peace negotiations which had only recently rejuvenated. The US special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has said he expressed outrage in a meeting with the Taliban about the attack on Bagram this week, adding “we’re taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic.” However, the Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen in a tweet stated the two sides wrapped up nearly a week of peace negotiations in a “good and positive” atmosphere and that the talks weren’t halted due to the attack on foreign forces’ base as there was a mutual agreement to resume the talks after “a few days and internal consultations. ”Meanwhile, a day after the talks were briefly suspended, according to Pakistani media, Khalilzad arrived in Islamabad and met Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who was briefed on the US-Taliban discussions in the Qatari capital of Doha.

The question here is about all the hypocrisy from the sides and that why Khalilzad chose Pakistan for his short political foray, as well as why the attack happened in such critical time when the warring parties seem to be on the verge of signing a peace deal? This is while such attacks in the past had led to the suspension of peace talks and it’s understandable that the Taliban would want to avoid such assaults. But then why did it happen? The Taliban spokesman in the group’s defense said that the US side was reminded about its airstrikes, drone strikes and night raids and thus justified the attack on Bagram at this point in time as a proper response. Naturally, each warring side wants to show they have an upper hand militarily on the ground in order to gain leverage in the talks. However, while doing this, they pay no heed to civilian deaths and dub casualties as collateral damage. If the parties into war sincerely want peace, they must show they are willing and able to respond to Afghan desire for peace. Meanwhile, Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan is also explainable by the fact that the whole world knows the Taliban leaders maintain close contacts with Islamabad – as the county is home to the rebels’ safe-havens while their families also live there. Therefore, the US point-man has most certainly asked Pakistani authorities to employ their influence and leash the insurgents in order to reduce violence – at least for a limited period of time while the peace negotiations are ongoing.

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