Taliban’s positive gesture

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According to media reports, Afghan Taliban have signalled willingness to take part in a meeting that Russia is expected to host next month on peace and reconciliation in war-torn Afghanistan. Russia has extended an invitation to 12 countries for consultations in Moscow on April 14 and Taliban have indicated they would participate if invited.
Russia, being sponsor and host of the process, might have its own reasons whether or not to invite Taliban but on the face of it success of any move aimed at restoration of peace and stability in war-ravaged Afghanistan is linked intrinsically to the attitude and cooperation of Taliban who are major stakeholders in the country. If the entire world agrees on something that doesn’t take care of needs and aspirations of all segments of the Afghan population even then there is no guarantee of its success if it is not acceptable, at least, to Taliban and the Afghan Government. Previously, Afghan Government was kept out and understandably so as Kabul was laying more emphasis on use of force than politically negotiated settlement despite failure of this strategy in the past. Now that Afghanistan is being included it is but natural that Taliban should also be made part and parcel of the peace process. As Moscow, China and Pakistan have some leverage with Taliban, it is hoped that something concrete can emerge if all sides demonstrate flexibility for the cause of peace and stability of the region. The success depends mainly on attitude of Afghan Government as asking too much from Taliban and giving nothing worthwhile in return is a strategy doomed for failure. We have been emphasising in these columns that Taliban are part and parcel of Afghan society and their marginalisation would not resolve the problem but complicate it further. On the other hand, Taliban should also pledge to shun violence if there are firm guarantees that they would get due share in political system of the country.