The U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad visited Kabul and met with Afghan leaders, almost all key and influential figures with aim to discuss new steps for accelerating the peace process, but this time with new approaches and a new plan. Indeed his full intention was to resume discussion with all parties, including women, to find a way to achieve a just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. But this time, Khalilzad did not come with old ideas, or to call for national consensus on peace talks, rather he floated the idea of a participatory government to the Afghan leaders. Mr. Khalilzad had handed them a draft of the plan, asking them to share their views as soon as possible. Based on the plan, Doha talks will be sidelined and a meeting will be held at the international level to discuss the prospect of an interim government that would include the Taliban. Mr. Khalilzad also seems to have aimed to bring amendments to the peace agreement signed with the Taliban in 2020. These are a few new steps taken by Joe Biden administration not only to follow the path of peace talks but to bring it to a logical point as ongoing talks in Doha have proven unproductive. In the first anniversary of the US-Taliban deal, Taliban demanded the release of more Taliban prisoners and the removal of their names from the blacklist and also called for the withdrawal of all international forces from Afghanistan. The deal has emboldened the Taliban, as they already warned of unprecedented war unless the US implemented the Doha deal. In return, the US doubted the Taliban, accused the group of still having ties with al-Qaeda, and also accelerated attacks. With such threatening statements, it’s more than clear that Doha talks and the US deal with Taliban failed to bring peace. This is nothing but a fruitless effort and waste of time. Since the start of negotiations in September, war and insecurity have been increased, even the new trend of targeted-killings, including attacks on journalists, civil society workers, doctors, judges, religious figures, and female employees have hit unprecedented level, where only on Tuesday’s terrorist attack three female journalists were gunned down in a daylight attack in Jalalabad city. So when there is a deadlock in Doha talks with hope already vanished, the best and great idea floated by the US peace envoy Khalilzad is another Bonn Conference-style meeting to help succeed in forming a partnership government with inclusion of Taliban. Apparently, many Afghan leaders have backed the scheme as it would be the easiest and simplest way to get all the Afghan warring parties onboard and eventually to put a halt to the long years of war and bloodshed.
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