Doha parleys signal change of wind

Doha parleys signal change of windPosted by Javed Iqbal
Thursday, June 20, 2013 – THE American dream of direct talks with Afghan Taliban is about to come true with the ultimate opening of Taliban office in Doha, Qatar that would serve as focal point for maintaining contacts and holding negotiations aimed at restoration of peace in war-torn Afghanistan. Reports suggest that exploratory talks between the two sides are expected within the next few days but the end result is anybody’s guess due to suspicions about each other’s intentions, motives and objectives.

President Barack Obama too has apprehended that the road ahead is bumpy and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top commanding officer in Afghanistan, told Reporters that he didn’t know what impact the peace talks will have on levels of violence in Afghanistan where, according to his statement, hundred to hundred and twenty Afghan Army soldiers and officers lose their life every month at the hards of Taliban. But it is understood that opening of Doha office and agreement to meet, might be result of the background discussions where the two sides might have developed some understanding on how to proceed ahead and this raises hopes for successful outcome of the process, although after long and intensive bargaining. We hope that Americans would end differentiating between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban as this approach may not lead to anywhere. Attaching pre-conditions to the process like severing of ties with Al-Qaeda and renunciation of violence is also indicative of negative mindset because this means asking Taliban to surrender before talks, which is unlikely to happen. Public posturing apart, both the US and President Hamid Karzai, will have to adopt a realistic approach as security of Afghanistan has been handed over by NATO to Afghan security forces and Karzai will have to make sincere efforts for reconciliation to ensure peace during and after withdrawal of occupation forces from his country. This wind of change about talks with Afghan Taliban should also be food for thought for Pakistan Government and Establishment who have already lost much time in deciding whether or not to reach out to Pakistani Taliban. Security situation in Pakistan is deteriorating day-by-day posing serious threats to the economic agenda of the PML(N) Government and therefore, peace process should be initiated without loss of further time.

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