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Editorial: Stick to Talks

War in Afghanistan which is one of the deadliest current conflicts in the world, seems to have entered its most crucial phase as the newly inaugurated U.S. administration led by President Joe Biden is going to take robust and regional diplomatic effort to help the two sides (Afghan and Taliban) to achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent ceasefire. It’s’ unclear whether Biden will step into the shoes of his predecessor Mr. Trump, who did not attend his inaugural ceremony, terming the election the most fraudulent, to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by May as part of a deal with the Taliban. Biden’s top security official also made it clear to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement including to assess whether the Taliban was adherent to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan and remain in meaningful negotiations to end the conflict. This is the most significant move under Biden’s leadership, which is not only to stick in the talks, but also to overwhelmingly support the process to find a logical end to the war. Second best move is that the Biden administration is keeping former President Trump’s top envoy for Afghanistan peace talks, who has led regular negotiations with the Taliban, in place for the time being. This is a rare move as traditionally an incoming administration replaces politically appointed officials with their own team, particularly on foreign policy matters with such significance. Keeping Khalilzad in such and key position to make peace, at least for now, demonstrates the will of Biden’s team to the success of the peace talks, also a good news for the Afghans who suffered a lot in the last so many years of deadly long-conflict. When the war has no military solution, the wise decision is obviously to stick in the talks, even pressurizes any side that seems reluctant to the constructive talks. With Khalilzad in place, the Biden administration is apparently agreeing to continue the talks as the Doha agreement has been registered and accepted in the Security Council, and it also earned international support. Regional consensus already existed and the possibility of change seems unalterable. Indeed, it’s a great opportunity and the Doha agreement was a path that could lead Afghanistan toward a peaceful country. We should not be afraid of establishing an interim or transitional administration in a bid to hold elections for the sake of peace.

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