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Editorial: Peace parleys in tatters

Inclined to reconcile with radical Taliban outfits and bring a cessation to the stretching scourge of militancy, Afghanistan has long been pursuing all the possible ways. But reconciliation appears to be a delusion in the face of the inaction of Afghanistan’s much-touted High Peace Council. The pompous council was established six years ago in order to facilitate reconciliation with the militant Taliban and persuade them to relinquish violence. But the groom fact is that the peace council has not succeeded in basically fostering a strategic alliance between Afghanistan and the Taliban group. The more they beat the drum of peace, the more the insurgency intensified and the more the civilians suffered. The path they have been following leads straight to never land.

Conservative Afghanistan has long been a traditional society where local councils or jirgas have constantly been preferred over the law. Even jirgas coaxed Afghanistan into being in the beginning. Jirgas have been and continue to be the force behind the overwhelming majority of national-political motions and decisions.

A counterproductive council – with no bona fide legal authority nor genuine public legitimacy – the high peace council pursues its unachievable vision of peace sometimes in China and Qatar and sometimes in Indonesia. It is in fact an extravagant yet hollow enterprise with huge financial resources and no tangible outcome. If this council had pursued peace and solid ways out of crisis, it wouldn’t have secluded itself from terrorists the way it does now. Since its establishment, millions of dollars have been spent on the council. The peace negotiators, most of them tainted by corruption, travel in bullet-proof vehicles in Kabul and provinces. It’s principally presumed that the peace council’s failure in orchestrating peace parleys with the militant leaders sprang from contradictory policies. The peace council has been dismal in efficiency and restoration of peace is beyond its capability.

Even those belonging to the opposition who joined the peace process through the high peace council have received a lot of money in concession. But the stark reality is that they continue to deceive us, as they still have connections with the militant groups. The incumbent government continued the legacy of the erstwhile government to please a number of influential tribal elders and counter the influence of those figures in the framework of the peace council. It suffices to say that money spent on this council should rather be spent on strengthening the security forces.

The U.S. President Donald Trump’s previous remarks that ‘he will finish what others could not’ was a drastic dent to the already-tarred legitimacy of the high peace council. As the U.S. is awakened to its mistakes, it’s the definite job of the U.S.-backed Afghan government to avoid relying on the high peace council for much of its reconciliation-induced action. The government is called upon to dissolve ‘this council of an inert few’ and instead chalk out a roadmap for peace negotiations in the framework of a viable and formidable formation under the name of the high council of war – with a seamless differentiation between friends and enemies of Afghanistan – in a bid to decimate all enemies of Afghanistan once for all and bring eternal peace for the bereaved people of this war-wrecked country.

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