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Editorial: Limiting peaceful areas

The government is apparently working hard to gain what it calls “lasting peace” after a four-decade war and destruction.

The so-called Quadrilateral Coordination Group held its fifth meeting this week in Islamabad to find way or ways to persuade Taliban to come to peace talks with the government. From Afghan side, Omar Zakhilwal, ambassador to Pakistan had participated though the government had earlier boycotted the meeting, accusing Pakistan government of not being honest to its promises regarding peace process.

Prior to that, a draft for peace agreement with the delegation of the Hezb-e-Islami party run by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was prepared and would be finalized after an assessment by the party’s leadership as well as government officials.

The government-run High Peace Council seems very optimistic and excited with the agreement, because if finalized, it would be the first-ever achievement of the council in its six-year efforts for the peace.

Hekmatyar who has been involved in the 1980s jihad years against the Soviet-backed government, refused to be part of the mujahideen government, which took the power in April, 1992. He remained opposition and this stance was counted as an element of a four-year civil war in the capital, leaving more than 50,000 civilians killed. Helmatyar continued to oppose the Afghan government. Now, people welcome his decision about joining peace but with some doubts.

Regarding the peace talks with the Taliban, the government is enough experienced. The group has repeatedly rejected any peace suggestion, emphasizing on its war position. Pakistan government which is believed to be behind Taliban does not look to be serious in encouraging the militants to the talks.

President Ashraf Ghani is disappointed with Pakistan promises, and said in April that he would not expect Islamabad to bring Taliban to peace negotiations.

Taliban have recently intensified attacks against the security forces particularly in the previously safe provinces in the north.

The militants’ presence in Baghlan province is considered a big threat. Even people are scared to travel to Balkh province, arguing that the only safe road to Balkh is no more secure.

Besides that, there are reports of clashes between the two pro-government parties in the north. The backstage adventures are not clear for the people, but at least, they know that the ongoing efforts for peace are narrowing the peaceful and safe areas for them. The government shall take action against all those elements, both internal and external, who are destabilizing the peaceful areas.

 

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