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Editorial: Bumpy road to peace

President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah once again asked the Taliban to give a positive response to the government’s calls and join the peace process. Meanwhile, the US State Department also called on the insurgents to come to the Kabul-initiated peace, warning the group that it would face a “well-measured” response from Afghan security forces and the US troops.

In his latest remarks Ghani called on Taliban to separate from terrorist networks if they claim to be Afghan. He, however, believes that some foreign nationals are the element of war in Afghanistan, not the Taliban.

Kabul has been long trying to convince the group to abandon bloodshed and say ‘yes’ to the will of the government which is the will of the people of Afghanistan.

But, what is the insurgent group’s answer? It has frequently rejected the demands and has insisted on its positions, which includes a list of its conditions to negotiate about the peace.

The government speaks of the peace and talks to the Taliban, but they still continue their attacks. The recent suicide bombing in Kabul that targeted the defense ministry staff was a major example of the insurgents’ position. When officials in Kabul say something or express optimism about the peace process, Taliban answer them with suicide attacks, roadside bombings or attacks on the army and police outposts.

Now people don’t know who is the element of the war? Taliban or what President Ghani says “the foreign nationals”? Taliban directly target security forces, government employees and civilians. If there are foreign nationals in the country, they are either invited by the Taliban or have been sent by our neighboring country as an empowerment along the Taliban.

Separately, the government says it would not talk to those people who carry out attacks and kill people and those individuals would face military actions. It is clear that Taliban do that, so, who is Kabul going to talk to?

The peace wish with the Taliban seems to be waste of time, and the government should seek other options. As Pakistan has confessed that it has significant influence over the Taliban and had earlier promised Kabul not to spare any efforts for Afghan peace, it is the time to act as an honest mediator.

Afghan government should enter through this canal, because Pakistan now does not have any justifiable pretext. Afghanistan with the help of the United States should pressure Pakistan to switch off the engine of the insurgency. Pakistan is surely able to play key role to put an end to Afghan war, because having influence over the Taliban and sheltering their leaders’ families means support the group.

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