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Editorial: Human cost at its peak

Since the warring sides sat at the negotiating table in Qatar earlier this month, bloodshed and violence have increased in Afghanistan. The calls for a ceasefire are falling on deaf ears while the negotiators have so far failed to agree on a roadmap despite being engaged for nearly two weeks. The Afghan masses question the negotiations, saying when the sides are talking peace then what does an increase in bloodshed mean? It seems the peace talks are backfiring and not making the expected headway with the war’s human cost being at its peak. This is while the international community, the US and other stakeholders of Afghan peace concur that it’s high time that a ceasefire was observed – except for the Taliban who don’t agree to a truce. The US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad warns that violence remains unacceptably high in Afghanistan and Washington expects more setbacks in the ongoing peace talks between the Taliban militants and the Afghan government. “By any measure, current levels of violence are too high,” Khalilzad said, adding “We know that reductions are possible.”. Now, where is that possibility and what’s done for these high levels of violence as he describes it? Meanwhile, NATO’s Resolute Support Mission Commander in Afghanistan Gen. Scott Miller said the world was aware of the violence in Afghanistan and the Taliban must reduce it. The question here is what good does global awareness do for Afghans who are the victims of the perpetuated war? Nevertheless, Khalilzad urges the Afghan leaders to take advantage of the opportunity for a political settlement now available to them. It’s true that this opportunity should be availed of but it’s the Taliban now who are refusing to accept a truce. The Taliban were emboldened to an extent by the US that international pressures on the insurgent group don’t work anymore. The Taliban say they won’t declare a truce until its cause was eliminated in Afghanistan. What cause are they referring to? If it’s the foreign troops, they have promised to leave the country by May next year. Their reluctance to accept an armistice means more Afghans being killed and wounded on daily basis. Now that the US doesn’t attack the Taliban and vice versa, the ongoing war in Afghanistan is no different than previous internecine wars. The ongoing fighting is exclusively being turned into a civil war while it hasn’t been only that for the past two decades – because it was constituted of many complexities, including foreign invasion, war on terror besides Taliban insurgency. Considering the circumstances, the Taliban shouldn’t do Pakistani bidding and try to act as an independent group while the US should remain cognizant of its acts, which are proving to have been miscalculated and conducted for extrication from Afghanistan – and nothing else.

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