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Editorial :More than talks

All well-intentioned efforts of the four-nation on Afghan peace process will face some challenges unless the participation of all regional countries in the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) was ensured. The role of all stockholders in Afghanistan’s conflict is very much important. Despite other countries, none can deny the role of Russia, India and Iran aimed at bringing peace back to the war-devastated country. They can help to push forward the reconciliation drive towards a logical end.

The third meeting of the QCG concluded in Islamabad on Saturday. First and second round of the meeting held in Islamabad and Kabul respectively but with no significant outcomes. However, but this time the third meeting ended with a call for direct talks between Afghan government and the Taliban by the end of February.

Without giving details, a joint statement at the end of the QCG meeting said the representatives agreed upon a roadmap for peace. They called on the Taliban to join the peace process. Holding meetings in the capital cities of the two neighboring countries, (Kabul and Islamabad) has now become an established culture as the four-nation representatives again agreed on the fourth meeting to be held in Kabul on February 23. However, former President Hamid Karzai has suggested that Russia, Iran and India should also be included in the ongoing efforts to revive the stalled Afghan peace process.

Karzai said that if instability in Afghanistan was due to internal disputes, the Afghans should have resolved it themselves, but the Afghan conflict had external factors. Since he is ex-president of the country, he knows well that despite representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States, the QCG meeting should also be attended by the representatives of Iran, Russia and India. There is no denying to the fact that these countries are very important for Afghan peace process.

Furthermore, it seems that the QCG meeting has earned more value than the country’s High Peace Council (HPC) as donor countries, providing financial assistance to the council, has suspended their funds. US and Britain have been suspended their donations. The suspension in funds by US and UK is an indication that these two key players have fixed their eyes on the results of the QCG meetings and feel no more necessary to fund the HPC.

Afghan masses have pinned high hopes on the QCG to see peace and security in the war-hit country. Without ifs and buts, if this time the QCG failed in bringing Taliban to the table of talks, hopes of the war-hit nation would be dashed to the ground. Afghans are desperately looking for peace but the government should act smartly in any kind of peace deal with the Taliban as trust-deficit between Kabul and Islamabad and Afghan government and the Taliban is unprecedented. There is need for bridging the gap first.

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