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Black Friday in Afghanistan, influence is on high demand

8 1 6

Imran Jan |

Every year the American mega sale event Black Friday falls right after Thanksgiving. The joke among Americans-which I suspect is made by immigrants since outsiders anywhere can detect what locals take for granted-is that right after people in America express their gratitude for being in America and for having so much in life, they go on a crazy shopping spree basically negating that they have enough in life.

Thanksgiving is replaced by thanklessness within 24 hours. Just like warring for 17 years is now getting replaced by calls for peace talks. US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad has held talks with Taliban in Qatar just weeks ago. His stay in Afghanistan and Pakistan from November 8-20 was to try to push for peace negotiation with the Taliban.

The American stance is that it should talk to the Taliban in what it labels as “talks before talks”, which means America would talk to the Taliban and convince them to talk to the Afghan government.

Russia hosted a meeting of Taliban delegates and about a dozen countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, United States and five former Soviet republics in Moscow. In the cold weather of Moscow, the Russians attempted to bring some warmth in the relations between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The members invited mostly make up the regional rivals, enemies, and closet enemies. However, Russia feels supremely confident of its charm offensive as well as ambitious about gaining influence in a country it had to humiliatingly roll back from about 3 decades ago.

Even Iran, which seethed with anger after Taliban killed 9 Iranian diplomats in Mazar-i-Sharif and which supported the erstwhile anti-Taliban movement called Northern Alliance, hosted the Taliban “to help facilitate negotiations between Afghan groups and the country’s........

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