China nudges Taliban

DUE to its pragmatic approach to issues involving peace and security, China is emerging as an important player in Afghan peace process. This aspect has also been highlighted by the fact that Beijing has appointed a Special Envoy for Afghanistan, who met President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul and conveyed to him that his country has always urged the Taliban to enter into political negotiations with the Kabul administration.
Afghan peace process is stalled for quite some time mainly due to negative attitude of Kabul, which is increasingly becoming hostage to anti-peace forces. In the past, Afghanistan used to complain that Pakistan was not delivering Taliban at the negotiating table but Islamabad persuaded Taliban leadership for participation in national reconciliation process and a successful dialogue was held at Murree. However, the second round could not be held despite understanding in this regard because of ill-timed revelations about death of Taliban leader Mullah Umar. Later, Pakistan made repeated offers for cooperation in promoting the reconciliation but both Afghanistan and the US have been insisting on use of force, which has so far not produced any positive result and Taliban are gaining upper hand in many parts of Afghanistan. It was due to non-cooperative attitude of Kabul and Washington that Pakistan, China and Russia have started a process of their own but making it clear that Afghanistan was always welcomed to join it at any stage. We believe that Kabul should respond positively to Chinese gestures that have shown keen interest in promoting peace and security in the war-ravaged Afghanistan. China harbours no aggressive designs against any country and instead wants to engage them into cooperative framework under the umbrella of One Belt, One Road project. Peace in Afghanistan would also be helpful in quicker realisation of this project and it should be in the fitness of things if Afghan Government listens to China and enters into a result-oriented dialogue with Taliban. Taliban must not be shunned as they are a reality and no sustainable peace is possible without considering them a major stakeholder in the country.

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