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Editorial: Winning the Battle?

One year ago this week, the US and Taliban signed a landmark agreement to pave the road to peace in Afghanistan. Based on the agreement, the Taliban was bound to prevent attacks on the US forces, and Washington will withdraw its remaining troops by May. It also opened a window for the direct talks between the Afghan and Taliban peace teams as they already agreed on some agendas. The deal, though did not commit the Taliban to a ceasefire, but reduction of violence was agreed that Taliban failed to honor. The Afghans were very much hopeful, and still looking for miracles to see both sides (Afghan-Taliban) to hammer out their differences in the table of negotiations. The flame of war in the battlefield will not lead us to anywhere, rather trigger us to the continued war with infliction of more casualties. The narrative of war is quite visible and both sides are getting preparations for the spring offensive. This is the most irksome to see still the conflict sides showing eagerness to prolong this deadly war, even think of militarily victory. As no side conquered victory in the last 20 years of war, there also would be no such in the coming many years because war can’t end the war. Taliban clearly warned that they have technology to use like drones and missiles. The Taliban said to launch such a fight that has never been seen before. It seems that agreement with the US, especially the full withdrawal of foreign troops has increasingly emboldened the Taliban who are now giving open provocative and threatening remarks. They still maintain ties with al-Qaida, and remain unlikely to compromise in the negotiations table. Some high-profile protocols, and Taliban’s visit to some capitals, have reinforced the Taliban’s narrative of its political and military ascendancy. But no wise man will let the current opportunity for a political settlement to slip out of the hand. Undoubtedly, the Taliban can continue to fight, but could not rule the country once again. We have changed a lot in the past 20 years. This is not the old Afghanistan once they ruled. It’s better for them to embrace today’s Afghan society where half of the populations are as young as they do not remember how the Taliban regime was. They heard from their parents and relatives. A key reminder is that we have a historic opportunity to seize. This window of peace to end the bloodshed must not be shattered otherwise the consequences would be too fatal to bear for all sides.

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