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Editorial: Promising start

It is easy to wage a war as it takes just a few minutes to declare someone enemy. But, it is a herculean task to end the conflict. Countries and groups start wars without thinking about the end result or calculating the damages that they will suffer. The miscalculations make it extremely difficult to reach a broader consensus at the end. The statistics about gains and losses lead war parties astray. They forget about the real victims, always the masses, and focus on securing their interests—power sharing. All parties to the conflict want win-win situation. They do not want to be part of the zero-sum game. That is why the reconciliation drives are failing in most parts of the world. Syria, Sudan, Libya and Afghanistan are prominent cases to refer to in this regard.

Another problem with the Afghan peace process is that people demand conclusion of the talks too soon. Such process not only demands flexibility in stance but also in the deadlines. We gauge success of the current peace talks with a few factors such as ouster of the Taliban in 2001 and the groups to reconcile with. These factors are misleading us from the reality. The fact is that till 2010, there was no body to contact the insurgents. Establishment of contacts is necessary to build foundation for a result-oriented reconciliation. This job cannot be done within five years because one generation was born and raised in the period of violence. This generation is now 36 years old.

Moreover, Afghan government is not reconciling just with the Taliban but other groups as well. Separate meetings will take place to convince them to renounce violence. In addition to that the eroding public support to the government is another setback to the peace process. Not only the militants are divided over the peace process but different social groups in the country as well; though, they agree that the militant groups shall respect the Constitution but have no formula for power sharing. We all know that without power sharing there would be no peace deal. However, most of us do not want to give immunity and any sort of power to the militants.

Thus, the peace process is an exhausting journey. It has just begun. Participation of the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan has marked a good start. The second largest insurgent group, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, had agreed to become part of the four-nation backed Afghan peace process. The group’s statement is very positive. It said that through participation in the process it wants to prove to the Afghan nation that it believes in reconciliation. Hope, that other militant factions would also follow HIA’s footsteps.

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