Talks the only solution to Afghan problem

THOUGH it is not going to be easy to bring the Afghan Taliban back to the table of negotiations especially after the killing of their Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a recent drone attack, there are no two opinions that peace negotiations remain the only way forward for a political settlement in the war ravaged Afghanistan.
Whilst Afghan Taliban rejected direct talks with the Afghan government immediately after the killing of Mansour, the breakaway Taliban faction led by Mullah Muhammad Rasool has expressed the willingness to hold talks with the Afghan government. This as well as the recently concluded peace agreement between Hezb-e-Islami group and Afghan government could be seen as positive developments that may rekindle the faint hopes for reconciliation. It is however unfortunate that whenever prospects of peace talks become visible, some incident happens to sabotage the process. The Murree dialogue was also ruined by the sudden disclosure of the death of Mullah Omar and now when there were some hopes of resumption of the dialogue process, the drone attack was carried out to kill the top leader of Afghan Taliban. According to the US version, Mullah Mansour was against the peace process but as also pointed out by Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan in a recent press conference that it was Mullah Mansour who actually led the Taliban group in the first ever direct talks with the Afghan government in Murree. Undoubtedly, the killing of Mansour has complicated the Afghan peace process and put Pakistan into a more difficult situation as it was working actively and vigorously under the umbrella of Quadrilateral Coordination Group to bring the Taliban on negotiations table. After the killing of Mansour, the QCG members might be adopting the ‘wait and see’ approach on the peace process, we believe the efforts for the reconciliation process must go on unhindered with proper homework despite the setbacks that are expected to come in the way. We hope that new Taliban Chief Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada, who served as a judge during Taliban era, will not be opposed to the process provided congenial environment is created and confidence building measures are taken to encourage the Taliban rejoin the peace talks which is the only panacea to all the problems of Afghanistan.

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