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More duplicity in quest of peace!

The two-day, much-touted, all-Afghan conference – bringing together Afghan elites from political and social spheres and the Taliban representatives in Doha of Qatar – jointly released a statement which was nothing else but a glimmer of hope for the Afghan masses who dream of peace—a marvel which has been missing for decades now.  The statement appeared to push the country a step closer to peace by drawing outlines of a roadmap for the country’s future to end the 18-year mire in war-ravaged Afghanistan. Afghans heaved a sigh of relief after the gathering was wrapped up with promising signs which could possibly end the Afghan war. It signaled that finally, the peace process was heading in the right direction as the resolution mentioned some critical issues and reduced worries of Afghans regarding their motherland’s future landscape. However, peace dreams diminished within minutes of that day when Mullah Abbas Stanikzai, the Taliban’s head of negotiation, gave pessimistic views over a reduction of violence. To everybody’s surprise, he told journalists that all the sides shared their views and concerns at the meeting, and decisions and recommendations in the written paper were not binding. “It was just a conference, not an intra-Afghan dialogue,” he stated when the whole world considered it as the third round of all-Afghan gatherings, following the two rounds in Moscow. Now Stanikzai’s remarks raised several doubts, especially over the group’s seriousness about the peace process. It even implied their hypocrisy games being played under the name of peace talks. Rejecting or contradicting their (Taliban representatives) own words in merely a few minutes have already elevated grave apprehensions. How can the Taliban be trusted with the rest of the peace process if they are negating their own words? Afghans have become fed-up with warfare. The war-hit Afghans by reading the resolution’s content which hints at likely peace and reduction of violence became happy, but simultaneously sad by hearing Stanikzai’s anti-peace remarks shortly. Astonishingly, as the peace negotiations are being accelerated, the outbreak of violence across the country has also continued unabated. If the warring sides are truly considering to bring an end to the Afghan miseries, they should act decently and reliably in their talks. Violence and shocking statements should not be utilized as bargaining chips to receive favorable treatment in the peace process that decides the country’s future. The conflict between the Taliban, the government and foreign forces have claimed countless lives of innocent Afghans and this phenomenon has been ongoing for more than two decades now. But the group has no right to play with the honest feelings and emotions of Afghan masses regarding the peace-building. The joint statement was full of innards of peace; however, why issue it when it is not binding? Furthermore, voices were also raised requesting all the regional and neighboring countries to respect sovereignty and solidarity of Afghanistan as per the Doha declaration. Is this statement non-binding too? So instead of making confusion, Taliban leaders need to make up their minds and be clear before entering such types of gatherings.

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