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Of peace talks and militant attacks

In this war-ravaged country, challenges for peacebuilding are too many, but the resolve is higher than the mountains in Afghanistan. Given that the government is too eager on peace talks and the Taliban are also showing some signs of readiness for talks, the fall of Jwand district of Badghis, doesn’t auger well, at all for peace dialogue. It looks very unpromising that when insecurity is plaguing, and there is no recession in the violent activities, the dialogue process will succeed. Following the fall of this district to the Taliban, a member of the parliament warned that a number of other districts in the province are under looming threat. Here, the government must not bank upon dialogue only as the use of force is also a must as the insurgents need to be put to rout as they will not go towards peace talks until they see themselves as a powerful resistance group. Though, a military operation has been launched in Jwand district to retake control of the district after the militant Taliban attacked the area Saturday night, however, it has unmasked the true face of the Taliban that they believe more in violence than in peace talks. Moreover, they know they cannot stand on the ground for longer as by now they don’t have controlled any area for more than a week or two, which means they cannot win militarily and the only viable option is “peace talks”. Now what the government must do is a matter of concern. First their strength needs to be hamstrung. Then international support must be rallied, particularly Pakistan and China must be kept onboard as the US and other key players have failed so far in bringing the Taliban to the table of negotiations. Even at times, the US intervention ahs hampered the peace process as it has attempted to do away with the war in Afghanistan. Perhaps, the United States, deliberately, lost chances of reconciliation and peace talks with the Taliban in the initial four years of the war. Even well before the start of the war, the Taliban asked again to negotiate handing over bin Laden to a third country to be tried, but the erratic US, like a bear with a sore head, assaulted Afghanistan that unleashed unbearable losses. If it was all just for chasing one man, bin Laden, then Afghanistan indeed paid a heavy price. And if it was for combating an ideology then the US has abysmally failed as extremism is constantly on the rise, since then. In such a situation, what the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), has commented about peace process must be taken seriously by all stakeholders. Nicholas Haysom, who is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that the war is unbearable and the peace process must be the one in which Afghans talk to Afghans. Besides what looks to be the sign of change is that the Taliban have distanced themselves from women reprisal and said that they were not against women’s participant in politics, an Afghan delegation member, Malalai Shinwari said, who recently had flown to Doha for two days informal talks. The talks were arranged by a Canada-based organization, Pushwag Council that works on solutions to international conflicts. More and more efforts need to be done in this regard as eventually it is peace process that will work out.

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