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Editorial: Between hope and misery

There is much obstacle to peace, but there are several strong reasons to believe Afghanistan could eventually become a peaceful country. US has signed pace deal with Taliban and the Afghan government releasing Taliban prisoners in an effort to end the war and enter to the next level of talks which is intra-Afghan dialogue. 29 February has opened a new chapter in relations between US-Taliban. It was a new opening and a window of a new beginning to end the war. The level of optimism was too high. The ordinary Afghans who suffered most, had pinned higher hope on the deal that could eventually put an end to their long year’s miseries. However, today’s ground reality suggest otherwise. Neither peace maintained nor Taliban shunned violence instead intensified their onslaughts. More than 500 civilians, including more than 150 children, were killed due to the fighting during the first quarter of 2020, highlighting the urgent need for all parties to the conflict to do more to protect civilians from harm, especially in view of the looming threat posed to all Afghans by COVID-19. The post-February 29 situation positioned Afghan masses between hope and hopelessness. It seemed it has plunge the country into a new war instead of opening a windowpane for peace. At least over 50 security forces personnel, and 17 civilians have been killed and many others were wounded during assault intensified by the Taliban since the outset of holy month of Ramadan. The group also ruled out humanitarian ceasefire, adding to the frustration with painting bleaker picture of the US-Taliban peace deal. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Taliban was not living up to their commitments under an agreement signed this year. Esper said the Afghan government and the Taliban both need to come together and make progress on the terms are laid out. Failure of Taliban to reduce violence indicated their stance which is not changed and waging war in a bid for more leverage. But it has destroyed terms in the agreement that already jeopardize it at the risk of collapse. What will happen if once US revoke the agreement? What Taliban would have then to say? Afghanistan allies will never repeat past blunders to once again abandon us and let the country become safe haven for terrorist groups which is a great risk to the world’s security. Afghan government and Taliban need to come up to the fore with a clear mechanism in all affairs, including prisoner swap process and other issues related to the peace process.

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