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Editorial: Peace, still a pipe-dream

The Afghan people are highly waiting for peace to return to the country, but could go horribly wrong if seen through a foreign set-up. History tells us that foreign-initiated peace plan or agreement that was somehow imposed on Afghanistan, failed to bring peace, rather it had left much more complexity on the way to this noble cause. We are again in the peace-making process with an already signed deal between the US and the Taliban. The deal was signed last year, opening a window for direct talks between Afghan and Taliban peace members. The fragility is that peace is still a distant dream, where both sides, despite conducting several rounds of talks, failed to put aside differences and reach a political compromise to end the deadly-long conflict. Much is changing now. Taliban promised to abandon the concept of power-monopoly and expressed readiness to end the war via dialogues. However, now the Taliban are stepping back and putting new conditions for the Istanbul conference. The conference, which is expecting comprehensive discussions on key issues and possibly important decisions about the future set-up and ceasefire was postponed twice in April after the Taliban’s refusal. Taliban came with an interesting reason as an excuse for its refusal as Turkey did not share details of the conference, including the agenda and purposes. Such a statement itself is a clear prescription of unwillingness for a political end. The agenda is crystal clear and that is the way to put a halt to the war and form an inclusive government with inclusion of women. The fact that the Taliban are not interested in the Turkey conference is the disagreement among its leadership, apparently it would be the last resort and the Taliban will eventually be forced to come to an agreement with some sort of government, but establishing a ceasefire would be in the first place. The Taliban are extremely fearful that their ground fighters will shun violence once they test peace and its beauty in the face of ceasefire. For the first time in many years, not a bullet was fired during the first Eid ceasefire declared by the Afghan and Taliban almost two years ago. There were some follow ups, but no other ceasefires were so peacefully honored. Even the Taliban fighters were seen singing, dancing, and embracing the Afghan security forces. Apparently it was not a good sign for the group’s leadership. Since then, the Taliban are afraid of the narrative of ceasefire, putting it as the last option to be discussed. The recent ceasefire was a deadliest one as over 20 civilians were killed in different violence around the country. The Afghan masses who suffered a lot are utterly waiting for peace, and it’s the duty of the Afghan leaders, including the Taliban leadership to promote nonviolence and harmony in the society instead of violent behaviors.

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