Kabul needs to bring Taliban on board
Aconvoy of buses transporting police cadets in Kabul came under attack on Thursday killing at least 27 of them and wounding 40 others in two powerful blasts. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid quickly claimed the responsibility of the suicide attack. The attack attracted universal condemnation as bread earners were targeted for no fault of them. It is all the more abhorring that the incident came during holy month of Ramazan when normally there is ceasefire even in conventional wars. But the tragedy once again confirms terrorists are terrorists and have no other identity and that their only objective is to spread terror. The incident also shows Taliban feel badly let down by Kabul administration during all these years. Taliban are synonymous to Pushtoons, which are a distinct majority and reality in Afghanistan and cannot be dumped as such. Same Pushtoons received American backing to fight Russians out and now, wrongly or rightly, they believe the United States is an occupation power in Afghanistan and must leave the country. Earlier, former President Hamid Karzai realized the ground reality and made efforts to establish contacts with Taliban and for this purpose they were allowed to open an office at Doha in Qatar. However, some vested interests scuttled those efforts and also the ones made recently, courtesy Pakistan, for direct talks between the Afghan Government and Taliban, which sparked hopes for a peaceful settlement of the decades old conflict in the neighbouring country. Unfortunately, the United States droned the dialogue process by killing Taliban leader Mullah Mansoor and now focus is on use of force than negotiations. As Taliban see no prospects of peaceful settlement of the crisis, it is but natural that they are resorting to more violence and pressure tactics. Ghani administration seems to have become a puppet in the hands of the United States and former Northern Alliance as it is unable to differentiate between good and bad for the country. We wish that in the larger interest of much-needed peace in Afghanistan, Kabul Government should extend an olive branch to Taliban and sort out differences on the negotiating table. Otherwise, American plans would continue to inflict wounds on Afghanistan for years to come.