One of the key speakers was the powerful Kandahar Police Chief Gen. Abdul Raziq, the fiercest enemy of Taliban in southern Afghanistan, who even offered to provide the Taliban with “safe zones” in case of peace talk resumption. Because of his close relationship with Americans and the fact that he is known for his tough anti-Taliban stance, the remarks are of great significance and herald a shift.
Some elements may oppose establishing “safe zones” for the Taliban in Afghanistan for different reasons and they have the right to do so; however, the move also has some perks if certain conditions are set for it. If the militants declare a ceasefire and restart the stalled peace process in return for the “safe zones”, it will be a practical step towards bringing the decades-long conflict to a negotiated settlement. It may well open the door to a peaceful solution of the Afghan conflict through intra-Afghan talks on the one hand, and lead to a slump in Pakistan’s influence over the Taliban on the other hand. As long as Pakistan has influence over and controls the Taliban, chances for the success of peace talks with the group are very low.
Past experience also proved that the Afghan conflict doesn’t have a military solution. Afghans did not heave a sigh of relief even when more than 150,000 international troops were here. Afghanistan still daily witnesses bloody fighting whose all victims are Afghan people. While it is right that the war has been imposed on Afghanistan, the key issue now is that it is only Afghans who lose their lives on both sides. Due to that very fact, both sides should prefer peace talks over war and let Afghans lead a peaceful life once again after decades.