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The way towards a challenging future 

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By: Sohail Ahmed Soomro

Undeniably, Afghanistan has been dogged by misfortune as it has been home to lingering and deadly wars for more than three decades, in one way or another. Be it the annexation attempt by the former USSR, the Mujahideen retaliation to it during the Cold War, The USA’s longest war, in the shape of the War on Terror in Afghanistan after the Cold War and other foreign proxy wars in between them. Hopefully, this could be the moment of jubilation for the people of Afghanistan who have never been able to give a sigh of peace during the long stretch of proliferating bloody wars. It is to be hoped their dreams materialize soon.

However, realistically, the Afghan peace process would never be so simple that it might be concluded in a jiffy. There are plenty of challenges, compromises and complexities attached to it; since it is going to be brokered between the two parties (Kabul and Taliban) who never seen eye to eye. Their political, social, religious, ideological, cultural and economic insights are poles apart. Thus intra-Afghan negotiations will be all about arduous compromises and formidable challenges.

The intra-Afghan dialogue in the very beginning plunged into a deadlock over the prisoner swap scheme. Kabul was reluctant to release the final 400 hard-core Taliban commanders it had in custody. Consequently, the matter was left to the proclamation of the Loya Jirga. However, the Loya Jirga’s declaration for immediate release, coupled with intense pressure on the USA’s part— intent on expediting process of military withdrawal— was decisive in fostering the dialogue for the next phase. Subsequently, direct talks, between the Kabul government and the Taliban, finally kicked off in Qatar on September 12.

Challenging and delicate dialogues lie ahead. The path to peace would never be particularly easy. A political negotiation entails hard compromises from both ends, the Afghan government and Taliban. It can only be hoped........

© Pakistan Today

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