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Editorial: Peace, not an illusion

Acclamation, gratification and covenants followed a momentous cease-fire declaration by diplomacy wonks; a desperate reconciliation attempt to end a grilling insurgency sprawling across the ravaged land. In fact, it was the zenith of the ‘negotiation and dialogue’ doctrine of the government which reverberated exponentially globally. The effectiveness of that truce overture which the Taliban later honoured is not to be downplayed as intentions are noble and inclined towards reintegrating the insurgent opposition into the political theatre and ultimately allowing a cessation to violence by preventing Afghanistan’s use for terrorism.

In essence, Taliban have never elected by design to cease their guerilla fighting against national defense forces; yet this time they did. That is good intentions, though evanescent. That inter-change and truce proclivity created a scant hope that a stuttering peace process may finally be moving forward; the pursuit of peace before that unprecedented entente was as illusory as the fantasy that firepower will achieve victory for either side of the war.

Perhaps, quest for peace in Afghanistan is on a sticky wicket because the psychology and fanatic notion of the Taliban for their war has not been thought through thoroughly. They have been fighting for years on the motivation of contesting the invaders; the U.S. and its allies whom the Taliban have unexpectedly asked to negotiate with.

Achieving peace through negotiation has had no outcome. Many efforts like Doha initiative, Beijing process, Tashkent efforts, Turkish dialogues, Indonesian gatherings and all other attempts faltered, because they failed to bring the Taliban leadership to the table or include crucial stakeholders other than the warring factions.

A political settlement is always an expedient alternative to military engagement to end the war in Afghanistan. A politically negotiated settlement should involve all stakeholders. Pakistan is directly involved in the Afghan war, and is a prime stake holder too as insurgency is fueled by and feted in vast lands of FATA. Moreover, trust levels have been extremely low between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the blame game has been the overriding attitude. That has been a disincentive to the pursuit of peace in Afghanistan.

The armed opposition must realize that they will gain nothing by wielding arms and waging war. They will only inherit ruins and wreckage and the legacy of a malevolent force. Their fighting against the so-called invaders is destroying our land and emboldening prospects of chaos and instability. The Taliban are invited to re-consider re-conciliation and re-integrate with the nation they once misruled.

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