LATEST developments and statements by major stakeholders clearly indicate that the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan would complicate in near future with serious consequences for neighbouring countries especially Pakistan.
The Taliban, who have secured control of over half of Afghan districts, have declared in unequivocal terms that they don’t want to monopolize power, but there won’t be peace in Afghanistan until there is a new negotiated government in Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani is removed.
However, against this softening of stand by the Taliban, President Ashraf Ghani has expressed the confidence that the United States would protect and defend Afghanistan and there are confirmed reports of bombing of the Taliban by the US in support of the Afghan Army.
The declaration of the Taliban is a welcome assurance as apprehensions are being expressed about return of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan in view of their lightning gains in battles against the Afghan Army.
Their stance is understandable as attempts made in the past to keep major Afghan factions away from power were at the root of the insecurity and instability.
The Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen, in an interview, has emphasized that they do not believe in the monopoly of power because any governments who (sought) to monopolize power in Afghanistan in the past, were not successful governments.
Apart from internal opposition, a total takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban is likely to be opposed by a majority of the international community, raising issues of legitimacy and creating problems for them in managing affairs of the country.
The demand for removal of Afghan President comes in the backdrop of the widely held perception that Ghani is part of the problem and not part of the solution.
The controversies surrounding his election to allegations of widespread corruption and his opposition to peace moves deprive him of the right to continue to rule the country.
Shaheen also moved closer to meeting one of the demands by declaring that they will lay down their weapons when a negotiated government acceptable to all sides in the conflict is installed in Kabul and Ghani’s government is gone.
As against the reconciliatory tone adopted by the Taliban, Ghani is once again trying to stick to the power and that too rising on American guns.
The Taliban have also lived up to their commitment of not attacking the withdrawing troops but Washington is not violating the accord by carrying out aerial attacks against the Taliban targets.
If the full use of the military power could not resolve the problem for 20 long years, the latest bombing is unlikely to yield the desired results except spoiling the atmosphere for dialogue.
There is a need for all sides to renew their commitments to peace and take demonstrable measures to help realize the cherished objective.