Taliban need to clarify stance on Ghani’s peace offer

Tuesday, 27 March 2018 03:20 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 176 times

The Taliban are yet to respond to Afghan government’s peace proposal put forward by President Ghani at the second Meeting of Kabul Process a month ago. A Taliban spokesman, ZabihullahMujahed, has only said that their leadership has not yet made any decision regarding the offer.
The Taliban’s indifference towards the peace overture challenges their claim of seeking a peaceful solution to Afghan conflict. While they always persist in their statements that they are after a negotiated settlement of Afghan war, their silence on Afghan government’s unconditional peace offer denotes dialogue is still not a priority for them, or they are not yet ready to talk to the Afghan government, something that has to happen one day whether during or after the presence of Americans. Although American influence on Afghan government cannot be ignored, it is also an inevitable fact that one of the major reasons for the American influence is the escalation of fighting and Taliban attacks. The ongoing war has prompted Afghan government to view American military presence in the country as the only option for its survival.
Americans use the Taliban’s growing momentum as a pretext to justify their presence in Afghanistan, while the Taliban, on the other hand, also set the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan as a precondition for any peace talks. The emphasis of both sides on their terms has protracted the war, for which Afghan people are paying a heavy price. Both Americans and Taliban publicly stress that Afghan war doesn’t have a military solution, yet neither side not only has not given any priority to the political settlement, but their persistence on use of force has also so far sabotaged Afghan government’s efforts for peace.
The Taliban also have not attended a two-day international conference on Afghan peace commenced on Monday in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. It is the mistake of the organizers of the conference if the Taliban were not invited; however, if they refused to partake in the meeting despite being invited, how Afghan people will trust their calls for peace.
The Taliban have to realize the delicacy of situation in Afghanistan, and come to the negotiating table with Afghan government. The Taliban’s constant refusal to talk peace can implicate them in activities for which they shoulder no responsibility. It is now time for both Afghan government and the Taliban to jointly counter any attempts by foreigners, including Americans, to sabotage peace efforts, and both sides should try their best to eliminate all grounds contributing to the continuation of war, thereby letting the war-weary Afghan nation breathe a sigh of relief.

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