Thousands of leaders are gathering in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, today to decide whether or not the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners should be released.
On this occasion, US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that “Today, a Loya Jirga will be held in Kabul that will pave the way for the direct talks with the Taliban.”
In a series of tweets he posted on Friday morning, Khalilzad said, “A positive result will lead to a reduction in violence, and gathering for the talk for Afghan solution.”
While alluding to the remaining 400 Taliban prisoners, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also expressed his belief that though the release of the prisoner would be an unpopular decision. However, he added that it would lead to a converging point that both Afghanistan and its friends had been longing for the sake of peace.
The prisoner release had been a thorny issue, and only an amicable resolution could pave the way for the intra-Afghan peace talk between the Kabul government and the Taliban.
So far, the Afghan authorities had released around 5000 Taliban, but they have been reluctant to release the remaining 400, who are considered the deadliest militants.
Among those, 44 are those who have been an object of concern for the US due to their alleged involvement in the high profile attacks.
Of these 400, five Taliban were reportedly involved in the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel attack that resulted in the killing of 40 people.
With the ongoing developments in Kabul, unfolding at the faster pace since the signing of the Doha deal between the Taliban and the US, it appears that the remaining 44 will eventually be joining the Taliban fold sooner. Any delay on the part of the Afghan authorities would be tantamount to lack of administrative insight.
Since the US pulled its hands off the war, the options for the Afghan government have become increasingly restricted. The virtual capitulation of the US before the unending war against the Taliban has only reestablished the preeminence of the group in the Afghan affairs, inside or outside of the politics.
And the past experience has shown that the Taliban in the government is a lesser danger than the Taliban outside of it.
Besides, the Afghan government should realize that if the world’s superpower could not tame the Taliban, then Ashraf Ghani or Abdullah Abdullah would be the last two persons on the earth to do so!
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However, it does not mean that the Kabul government should become a silent spectator, and let the Taliban steal the show.
The best course from each side would be the pursuance of moderation with the willingness for peace.
If the past twenty years have told us that the Taliban are good in war, then the last few years have taught us that they are equally formidable in the talks. So, far they have won in their pursuits of peace of war. Interestingly, the Kabul government has been destitute of any of the two.
Bringing the Taliban back into the mainstream politics could be the best chance to tame the wild lion that had been so far threatening the jungle, we euphemistically call Afghanistan.