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Peace prospects

The Taliban has broken the ice and showed willingness to be part of the peace process that is moving at snail-pace with results yet to be perceived. However, bloodshed is continued. Every day civilians are killed and maimed. Afghan security forces are as busy in defending the country against anti-state elements as they were in the past. Nationwide offensives against insurgents are order of the day. Foreign troops ended their combat role and providing limited air supported to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the battlefield which is another dilemma. Regional players still to roll up sleeves against the insurgent groups and drive them out of their cities. So, absence of ceasefire between the insurgent groups and ANSF as well as lack of regional support is overshadowing the peace prospects in South Asia.

It is no denying that militancy is untamed and made lives of Afghans miserable. At the same time terror groups are also threatening the regional stability. South and central Asian states with the dreams of development are without clue about end to extremism and terrorism, because they are fighting the war their own way. The war-on terror policies of these states are not producing soothing effects despite high intake of resources. Lives of the developing nations—with a large portion living below the poverty line— are at stake. Despite that the world powers and neighbors are reluctant to support anti-terror cause and militancy-hit states, particularly Afghanistan. The chaotic situation in these countries is giving birth to some mind-boggling queries such as whether terrorism would become a myth, replaced by peace. Seemingly, the situation has become worst from worse in parts of the world where the super power dropped its troops to pound out sanctuaries of terrorists. For many states and multinational corporations war has become a commodity and a pretext to sell weapons in the countries that were once at peace.

Deprived of the state-of-the-art technology, Afghans are on their own to deal with the threat of militancy. Without genuine and wholeheartedly regional and international cooperation, end to terrorism or insurgency is cock and a bull story. Hence, sketching a region at this point where civilians are not afraid from going to worship places, markets, offices and educational institutes is a daydreaming. Looking at the overall situation and factors that are fueling terrorism and extremism, it is clear that peace would not return to the haunted region unless the South Asian states come together at one platform with one voice, because world powers are not in favor of seeing the region stable. Joint anti-terror efforts are need of the hour. Once terrorists’ sanctuaries eliminated and their financers were sent behind bars the day would not be far when peace would return, not only in Afghanistan but in neighboring countries as well.

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