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Editorial: Stalled process

The so-called Afghan peace process has not gain momentum despite involvement of the United States, Pakistan and China. These three countries are the major regional and global players which could turn the tide in favor of the Afghan people and government if they decide so. Conflicting interests and different political ideologies have left negative impact on the peace process. The Taliban and Haqqani Network see the US as defeated enemy with a thousand cuts. Pakistan on the other hand has been long accused of double role. Some Afghan officials including the ex-intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil provided documents to media to prove that the neighboring country is not sincere and supporting insurgency in the country.

Likewise, China is too slow to react to the changing security challenges. Beijing is not ready yet to take any action against the Taliban or pressurize Pakistan, its sole ally in the region. Common interests bind these two countries. This friendship has failed to push the Afghan peace process to the pit of uncertainty. Establishment of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), comprising of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States, has given a hope to Afghan people. But, the hopes were dashed to ground when the Taliban rejected to take part in the peace dialogues. The group and its affiliates reiterated to fight the foreign and Afghan security forces until the conditions were met.

It is almost impossible to meet these conditions. In other words the Taliban did not take the QCG seriously because the group knew that it is a body with no clear mechanism and consensus. The Taliban were right.  The four-nation group vowed to take military action against the Afghan insurgents if they rejected the peace process. However, the promises were not translated into action. China and Pakistan are in the position to bring the insurgents to the table of talks. The two countries particularly Pakistan has the leverage over Afghan militant groups because many Taliban leaders live there. Their children study there. The injured militant leaders are treated in Pakistani hospitals.

Amid the conflicting interests and clandestine operations, statement of the former Taliban leader, Agha Jan Mutasim, cannot bring back hope to the war-hit country. Mustasim is known as a top leader for holding key positions in the group. He said that the militant group is optimistic about the future peace talks as China has decided to play bigger role.

Looking at the atrocities and inflexible approach of the militants, it is hard to believe that they would give peace any chance. Yet, everyone prays that Mustasim is right because Afghans are tired of violence. They have suffered heavy losses. They need peace and stability.

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