Euphoria in Kabul

Peace and reconciliation, it seems, are at work in Kabul. The impression gets buoyed with the news that senior Taleban leaders have expressed their willingness to travel all the way to the capital, and negotiate a deal of sorts with the dispensation of President Hamid Karzai.

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Published: Sun 17 Oct 2010, 9:54 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:48 PM

The coalition of the willing, at the same time, also seems to be on the same wavelength as it has assured a safe passage to the insurgent leadership — enabling a fair chance of rapprochement. But who are these Taleban leaders, how closely are they in league with the real opposition in Afghanistan and what mandate do they have to negotiate are hard to guess? But one thing is for sure, if the Taleban commanders can clinch a deal with the embattled president and get it endorsed from the leadership at large, peace will inevitably be round the corner. While this comes as a response to Karzai’s belief that across-the-board peace cannot be achieved by keeping the Pashtun militia out of the power nexus, these ensuing parleys are no less than an endorsement of the willingness to find a negotiated settlement of the mess in the war-weary country.

This development has created a unique euphoria. General Petraeus, commander of international forces in Afghanistan, went on record saying that apart from this move, there are several other ongoing initiatives to try to get the Taleban on the negotiating table. The illustrious general who is famed for his Iraq-surge approach, and who advocated harnessing the locals for ensuring durable peace, seems to be testing his skills in Afghanistan as well. He was perhaps the lone voice to push for talking it out with the enemy, as he considers permanent peace to be an illusion without taking on board all the disgruntled elements in the landlocked state. The US-led occupation of the country, which is well with in its ninth year, is in need of a renewed strategy. The surge of Taleban, coupled with the administrative weaknesses of the Karzai government, which is widely tainted with charges of corruption, has in fact compelled policy-makers in Brussels and Washington to cultivate new stakeholders for peace and tranquility. This episode of reaching out to the Taleban is, indeed, a step in the right direction.

With Taleban nodding in affirmative for talks, it is incumbent upon President Karzai to make room for making the initiative a success. The very fact that the second and third tiers of Taleban leadership have held talks with the Afghan government over the last 18 months goes on to reflect that something serious is missing either in the module or in mandate. Which is why it is argued that Kabul’s eagerness for reconciliation is at test.

Taleban who irresistibly represent almost 70 per cent of the population that nurses grievances with the post-invasion setup cannot be taken lightly. Their demands whatsoever for sharing power needs to be reciprocated in a mature and generous manner. Karzai’s and his non-Pashtun dispensation’s future closely lies with what the Taleban have to say in Kabul.

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