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Back to square one

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The intra-Afghan dialogue which was inaugurated in Doha on August 12 after protracted efforts by all the stakeholders, particularly by Pakistan, designed to find an Afghan-led and Afghan owned solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, has failed to make any progress. Reportedly a serious deadlock has emerged between the negotiating sides as both did not show flexibility in their respective stances. Consequently the peace plan has been cancelled over deadlock on the mode of punishments for different crimes.

Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar was quoted as saying “Both sides have failed to agree to the deal, or even negotiating because we could not agree on the middle ground between stoning people to death─ which we were never going to compromise on anyway─ and not stoning people to death.”

The hopes for an end to the conflict in Afghanistan expressed by the regional powers and the world community on the eve of the inaugural ceremony of the dialogue have dashed to the ground. We are back to square one. Reportedly the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, is flying to Pakistan to hold discussions over the strategy for resumption of talks.

All those countries, including Pakistan, which have been striving to bring the two sides to the negotiating table in the hope of finding a durable peace in Afghanistan, owned and supported by all segments of Afghan society, would feel dismayed over this inauspicious development.

Pakistan along with all the stakeholders would remain engaged in having both the parties agree on resumption of the suspended talks. However in view of the stalemate that has emerged, it is really not........

© Pakistan Today

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