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Editorial: Again deadlock

Anytime we, the Afghan masses hope that Afghan and Taliban negotiating members are close to a reaching deal to end the conflict, a bad news pops up suddenly. The second round of intra-Afghan talks is yet to resume. It was slated for 5th January after both sides decided to take a short break to consulate with their leadership about the agendas of discussions they agreed upon. With the current pause, violence has been intensified unprecedentedly. The Afghan security forces and the Taliban insurgents are engaged in intensive fighting. Unfortunately, over 40 Afghan security members have been killed in fighting with the Taliban over the past 24 hours, with the majority of casualties reported in volatile areas in Kunduz, Baghlan and Nimroz provinces. Over 40 Taliban insurgents were also killed in recent clashes in Kunduz. The current spat in violence has diminished the hope of the Afghans toward a peaceful future. Apparently, the ongoing peace talks would end up with no breakthrough, and unluckily, the Afghans will continue to bear the brunt of undeclared and imposed war. We don’t deserve war forever; we are not a nation of hatred and conflict.

The biggest problem is that both sides, Afghan and Taliban, are somehow unwilling for constructive talks. They engaged in blaming each other, and the Taliban are now imposing more demands, complicating the already fragile peace process. Taliban has demanded the release of 7,000 more prisoners, the removal of the group’s members from the UN blacklist, and the formation of an Islamic system in order to continue the peace talks. The demand has faced harsh criticism from the government, who utterly rejected it as baseless as violence remained unabated. Without doubt, the release of 5,000 Taliban has proved unproductive rather than war has escalated.

It sounds as if both sides are just waiting for the new US administration under leadership of Joe Biden to be inaugurated. This is the childish to wait, this is the Afghan people who are suffering from this war. Whoever the next US President is, talks must continue for the sake of peace to prevail. This so-called forever war has to be ended and the talks will not have any outcome sans willingness. It is quite a shame that the working groups from both sides failed to meet and finalize the agenda for the talks. Pessimistically, if the talks fail, the consequences would be very much noxious. Furthermore, the neighboring and regional countries must not let the ongoing talks from falling apart as war in Afghanistan will be one day reach to their doorstep as terrorism knows no boundaries.

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