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Editorial: Killing is no solution

Now when the peace talks between US Special Envoy Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad and Qatar-based Taliban leaders entered into a decisive stage, the Middle East Eye (MEE) – a website news source made some ironic disclosures. It states, “Mohammed bin Zayed, the UAE crown prince proposed to set up an assassination program targeting top Taliban leaders during a meeting with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year.” According to reports, the crown prince made the offer during Pompeo’s visit to the UAE on January 12 amid disagreements over the progress of peace talks between US and Taliban negotiators. According to the report, bin Zayed told Pompeo that Washington risked allowing Afghanistan to fall back into the hands of the “backward, bearded bad guys” and proposed hiring mercenaries to kill Taliban leaders to weaken the group’s negotiating position. It claimed, “Pompeo was visibly taken aback by the offer, but said nothing.” Ironic to mention that the UAE has supported US efforts to broker a peace deal with the Taliban and hosted the first round of negotiations between the two sides late last year in Abu Dhabi. But according to Al Jazeera news agency, bin Zayed is believed to have been frustrated that subsequent rounds of negotiations were moved to Qatar’s capital, Doha, at the insistence of the Taliban, which has maintained a political office there since 2013. And Abu Dhabi session, the two sides along with host UAE and Pakistan agreed for next round at Riyadh capital of Saudi Arab but later Taliban leadership had refused to fly to Riyadh for meeting with Zalmay Khalilzad. Similarly, later in February the Taliban leadership has also rejected Pakistan’s invitation of coming to Islamabad for shaking hands and meeting the Saudi crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. And during this period, Taliban leadership reached in Moscow on the invitation of Russian leaders whereas they held first ever face to face talks with the fellow Afghan politicians, religious leaders and former Mujahideen commanders. The meeting at Moscow was declared a major breakthrough and a step towards intra-Afghan dialogues. And most recently a prolong round of talks held at Doha between Ambassador Khalilzad and Taliban leaders at Doha, whereas the two sides agreed on first two points of four points agreement which included guaranteeing peace and an end to terror and pull-out schedule of US led foreign troops. The two sides are now engaged in consultation with the stake holders and partners when the MEE made ironic disclosures. Before these disclosure, Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib had also made unhappy the US by expressing reservations over peace talks. One thing is very clear that war, hostilities, terror and violence is no more solution to the conflict. Mullah Omar, Osama bin-Laden and Mullah Akhtar Mansoor were killed in Pakistan, but war did not stop. The world, including US realized that war can’t be won military, thus negotiation is the only way. Don’t’ get wrong, no one is supporting Taliban, but it’s a fact that military means has so far failed to eliminate terrorists. The killing of Taliban leaders proposed by a time when President Ashraf Ghani recently visited UAE, and this popped up after his meeting that likely the government told UAE to say this to American Foreign Secretariat. At same stage, the government seems unhappy with current US peace push, while the Afghan masses including political figures utterly backed the process, and all time backed intra-Afghan talks. Moreover, now the Taliban leadership willing to talk and resolve conflict through dialogues, therefore, the Afghan government needs to remain careful and supportive to the process. There is a dire need to back all those who are directly or indirectly engaged in peace efforts. Afghans couldn’t afford more bloodshed and hostilities in motherland. One thing is very encouraging when the US high ranking official like Pompeo turn to a deaf ear suggestion of UAE ruler. Even Pompeo had described the US-Taliban talks in previous January as encouraging.

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