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Editorial: Brittle Talks

What we get to know is that peace talks between the Afghan and Taliban peace delegation slated to resume on January 5th, after a short break, is yet to happen. The talks so far failed to meet expectations and are moving slowly, beset by widely different priorities and continued violence around Afghanistan. The halt on the talks comes after Joe Biden Administration announced it would review Washington’s 2020 deal with the Taliban group. But it doesn’t mean Washington is not supporting the talks, rather it has called on both sides to join for meaningful talks to end the conflict. If we, the war-hit Afghans, look at the current peace talks from a wide perspective, it offers the best chance ever to achieve some form of political settlement and significantly reduced violence. Grippingly, both sides (Afghan-Taliban) claim the right to stay in power to do well for the country. They also accused each other of sabotaging the peace process, even Taliban asked for President Ghani’s removal from power for the sake of peace. But it would be a past blunder, according to Mr. Ghani as history proves that none of interim setups helped bring peace, rather caused division and destruction. But to pursue a path toward sustainable peace, both sides must walk a fine line. They should understand that peace is not simply handing the country to one or other side. Both sides must not live in illusion – Kabul should not take US military or financial support as a license to refuse compromise – and Taliban to take Doha agreement with US as a great leverage to not only dream of military victory, but also taking power completely. There should and must be a political compromise to reach peace. The US and other supporters of the Afghan-owned peace process must find out which side is the spoiler. Peace is the top priority. Two blasts rocked Kabul that killed one and injured four others. In another Taliban attack in Nangarhar, at least 14 Afghan security forces lost their lives, and in another roadside blast in Kandahar, three, including a child were killed. This has happened in just some period of hours. It has highlighted how urgent we are in need of peace. There is also a big problem in terms of ceasefire, where the Taliban rejected this noble call of the Afghan time and again. So let’s change the term to other terminology, like truce, cessation of hostilities to stop the current war and rivers of Afghan blood, if the term of ceasefire is sensitive. 

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