Talks with Taliban

IN a rare display of agreement on Afghan issue, the United States and Pakistan have both underscored the need for including the Taliban in the Afghan peace process. Briefing the media persons the other day, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert stated that in the long, the stakeholders in Afghanistan will have to sit together to determine their future. For long Pakistan has been advocating that there is no military solution to the Afghan issue and only an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process can lead to peace in the war-torn country.
The very point was reaffirmed by Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary in his recent address to the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington. In these columns we have repeatedly been stating that the US has to play an important role if it is really interested in restoring peace in Afghanistan. Uptil now its focus has mainly been on the use of force which has not helped but further complicated the matters in the conflict-ridden country. Taliban is a reality and important stakeholders and without taking them on board, one should not imagine that they would be able to achieve the ultimate goal of peace in Afghanistan. As the US has expressed desire for talks, it should create conducive environment and offer incentives in order to bring the other party to the negotiations table. It is high time that the QCG which also involves Pakistan and China should be restored immediately and from its platform, efforts are made to induce the Taliban to negotiations. The Afghan people already have suffered a lot due to decades of war and conflict. Responsibility rests with Washington that it shows complete commitment and seriousness for the peace process and rebuilding the lives of Afghan people. It is also imperative for overall regional stability.

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