Clearing mess in Afghanistan

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan has accused the United States of seeing Pakistan as useful only in the context of the “mess” it is leaving behind in Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting.

Washington has been pressing Islamabad to use its influence over the Taliban to broker an elusive peace deal as negotiations between the insurgents and Afghan government have stalled, and violence in Afghanistan has escalated sharply.

The remarks made by the Prime Minister during interaction with foreign journalists on Wednesday constitute an honest assessment of the ground situation in Afghanistan.

For years, Pakistan opposed use of military power and has been emphasizing the need for a peaceful settlement of the conflict but other stakeholders did not pay heed to this sagacious approach and resultantly Afghanistan is again in a messy situation now.

There was a time when the Taliban would listen to Pakistan attentively and that is why it delivered them at the negotiating table in Murree as well as in Doha but the process faltered mainly because of intrigues by Kabul and negative role by some other powers.

Why would the Taliban listen to anyone now when they have a position of strength and as the Prime Minister pointed out they are adamant not to hold talks with the Kabul Government as long as President Ashraf Ghani is there? The countries that failed to restore peace in Afghanistan during their 20 year occupation are pinning false hopes on Pakistan to do so when the US itself believes Taliban fighters could isolate Afghanistan’s capital in 30 days and possibly take it over in 90.

The goal of durable peace is still achievable but only if the international community pays heed to the realistic call by Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who urged all stakeholders to play their part positively for enduring peace in Afghanistan.

 

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