Kabul needs to bring Tal­iban on board

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

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.

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