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Editorial: Still Hopeful

Unfortunately, Afghanistan has been in a whirl of unending war, where peace is still a distant dream. After four decades of war, a climax of hope has generated among the Afghans, especially after the U.S.-centric peace process that has concluded in a deal with the Taliban. The US and Taliban have signed an agreement for bringing peace to Afghanistan after more than 19 years of conflict. Indeed, Afghanistan endured momentous development in 2020 to find a political settlement as all the stakeholders were seriously engaged in the talks in the Doha of Qatar. The biggest breakthrough was the direct talks between Afghan and Taliban peace delegations, and they also reached some sorts of agreement on agendas in the first round of talks. This has brought a smile to the face of war-hit Afghans who took it as the best opportunity to end the war. But the next phase of the talks which is between Afghan and Taliban sides is not much promising. The talk is stalled at the moment, and some Afghan negotiators already return back home after Taliban peace members quit the table of talks and took on foreign trips, visiting Pakistan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan. What messages they have given or received from the host nations, is yet to be known in the larger concept.

The peace process is almost pushed into the brink of collapse. No talks were held between contact groups of the both sides for the past one month. The road to peace seems too bumpy and with such a pessimistic scenario, peace is still far to achieve. The major annoying part is that the Taliban are likely to announce their spring offensive, spurring the government preparations for more violence in the warmer spring with fears it could further endanger the fragile peace process. Still there is hope. The Taliban apparently are waiting for the final decision of the US administration once they finish reviewing the deal. However, hope to reach a political compromise and a durable peace would once again generate if the review concludes positively, unless intensive fighting will continue around the country and the Afghans will lose a historic opportunity to end the war. The major misinterpretation from the Doha deal is that US troops will withdraw from Afghanistan and the Taliban could easily take power militarily. This is the most misconception that has emboldened the Taliban group in some or other way. There is no military solution, and this fact must bear in the minds of all sides. War can’t end by war – its dialogue that rubs out misapprehension. Again, the violence is much higher than any time and it simply does not create the conditions to move forward in a historic turning point to end the long-decade conflict through dialogues.

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