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Editorial: Plans coming to naught

The US-Taliban peace accord signed last February is officially in tatters now. Following the increased violence and heavy clashes between the government forces and the Taliban in recent weeks, Gen. Scott Miller, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, has warned the Taliban of a befitting response if they didn’t stop their attacks. This follows strong pushes and calls from the international community urging the insurgent group to reduce violence, but to no avail. In a recent bout of violence, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives among civilians in the Char Asiab district of Kabul on Wednesday, leaving three people dead and another 15 wounded. The circumstances have come to a pretty pass as the Taliban also warn of seeking revenge if their prisoners held by the Afghan government get infected with coronavirus or killed by the pandemic. The rebel group said it would hold the US directly responsible if such a situation occurs because the country has dragged its feet on prisoner releases in violation of the peace agreement. Taliban’s worries come as on the coronavirus front, at least 1,939 people have been infected with COVID-19 – among them 47 prisoners also contracting the virus – 60 have died and over 228 others recovered in Afghanistan so far. On the other hand, in a recent report by a Russian news agency, Erik Prince, founder of the giant private security company ‘Blackwater’, was quoted as saying that the role this company was supposed to carry out in Afghanistan was given to the Taliban after the peace deal. This role is none other than fighting terrorist groups on the US behalf and not letting them use Afghan soil to pose threats to the US. Nevertheless, the recent developments in terms of the peace process show that nothing has worked out as planned. The US had sought guarantees from the Taliban to protect its interests in Afghanistan against Daesh and other terrorist organizations but now it warns them of armed response for not reducing violence. Given this, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that the peace deal is on the verge of collapse and the warring parties are on the brink of waging a more intensified war on one another. The irony of the situation is that using violence and flexing military muscles are supposed to wither away after a peace deal and after sorting out issues but on the contrary, violence and show of force are on the rise in the post-deal period here in Afghanistan. Moreover, the sides warn of revenge and response when they had earlier agreed that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan war. The warnings and intensified violence have brought us back at square one, leaving little hope for peace anytime soon with all the plans coming to naught. Only time will tell whether the belligerent parties would be able to hammer out their issues so that innocent Afghans could finally heave the long-expected sigh of relief.

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