Slow-moving Afghan peace process

AS the quadrilateral group on Afghanistan meet for the fourth time,there are still confusing signals from Kabul as to its genuine commitment to the peace process. Though Afghanistan’s new envoy to Pakistan Dr. Omar Zakhiwal has claimed that his Government is committed to the quadrilateral peace process, ground realities speak otherwise as some circles from within Kabul are trying to attach pre-conditions to the talks.
This state of affairs is highly intriguing; and Afghanistan should have been keen for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the country that has suffered too much and too long because of turbulence and turmoil triggered by a host of factors. Earlier, Afghanistan and some of its friends in the West had been complaining that peace process was not moving ahead because of lack of required support by Pakistan; however, over the last two years Islamabad has been making hectic endeavours to help Afghanistan come out of troubled water but it seems Kabul itself is not much interested in restoring normalcy. Pakistan successfully arranged first round of direct peace talks between Kabul and Taliban in Murree and its outcome was quite satisfactory, but, hurdles were created deliberately in the way of peace talks and then a blame game was initiated vitiating the atmosphere for resumption of the dialogue. All this happened in the backdrop of frantic efforts made by Pakistan to extend a helping hand to Afghanistan in overcoming its problems including extending all support in holding of Afghan Presidential elections in a peaceful environment. Pakistan is deeply interested in speedy resolution of the Afghan crisis as unending conflict has badly damaged it in different ways including missed economic opportunities, deteriorating security situation and continued presence of millions of Afghan refugees that are adding to the socio-economic problems of the country. Now that China too has joined Pakistan in supporting the peace moves and the United States is also facilitating the process, one expects from the Afghan Government to demonstrate wisdom and clarity in its position. More delay in resumption of direct dialogue and attaching of pre-conditions could shake confidence of all those who want an end to the conflict.

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