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Editorial: Laghman assault underscores scale of challenge facing peace process

As U.S. and NATO forces began their formal withdrawal, violence broke out in multiple parts of Afghanistan, including Sunday’s night large-scale attacks in Alingar district and Mehtarlam, the provincial capital city of Laghman province. Though the Afghan security forces repulsed the assault successfully and 50 Taliban insurgents were killed and another 60 were wounded, it left a big question, why the Taliban launched such a sweeping offensives in the wake of peace process. The group widely agreed with the US that they will no longer launch such attacks in larger city, or provincial capitals. This portrayed how the Taliban still lingering in military means, challenging the fragile peace process with no understanding of a peaceful solution to the conflict. Besides the group stepped up attacks, and actively planning for all-encompassing offensives, it met with mix reactions – a failed military approach that often neutralized by the iron hand of the Afghan security forces – second their unwillingness for a dialogue and political compromise that also left no doubt over perception of Taliban’s war narrative which is a never-ending tragedy. The group is absolutely in false impression, and attacking Laghman could serve as a best example of Taliban’s military failure, also a wakeup call that they can’t achieve their political goals by wagging war or more aggressive attacks. The irony is that the Taliban had never been in favor of meaningful talks. What they want from the Afghan is not clear and attacking areas with most inhabitant populations is a direct attack on civilians. The Taliban had never openly discussed what they wanted from the Afghan people. Many rounds of talks were held between the Afghan and Taliban peace negotiators, but it has never been clear what they want from innocent Afghan masses as the ordinary Afghans want a peaceful and sovereign life, even ready to forget the murderers of their beloved once. To forget the slaughterers, which is even against the Islamic teachings because there are punishments for every illegal act – but the desire for peace is much higher than revenge. Even there is no query in some sustainable agreements that would be necessary to enable some sorts of power-sharing deal. It’s hard to convince the Taliban that Afghans are tired of war and the war they are wagging on is illegal in the concept of foreign occupations as the foreign troops are going to make the full exit in September. An astonishing reminder for the Taliban is that the citizens of Mehtarlam city started a fresh day on Monday after passing a fearful night. Shops reopened, boys and girls going to schools. City is back to its normalcy and the people are smoothly running their daily activities.

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