By: Harriss Ali Akakhail
When peace talks between varying parties at Vietnam War was in process, to end the menacing stalemate, war machines from both sides were swinging at brisk pace. Same cycle was repeated during afghan war of 80’s. While peace talks were being pressed hard, baptism of fire saw having a steep rising curve over the graph of war theatre. Same is the case now at Afghanistan, with a proper stalemate at place, brutalities of war are witnessing a never ending vicious cycle. This obnoxious mentality of human species, not to halt war sequence while peace talks are on, revels the ugly notion that both sides do not wants to let the other party off the hook and wants to grip on war theatre, firmly.
US commander at Afghanistan, CENTCOM chief and Chairman joint chiefs of staffs have repeatedly said so to the media and at their testimonies to U.S senate foreign relations committee that, war in Afghanistan is dead at a stalemate and neither side is winning or losing. So, to end this never ending chase, political dialogue is the only solution. But time and again, since 2008 when peace talks lifted off, the world has witnessed it being vanished in thin air within no time. Reason being, that the hard facts of war remains intact. Both sides’ keeps on targeting each other with bruit force and conveying a message at the peace table that we have scored yet more hard points to bargain onto. This practice needs to shunned once and for all, for real talks to happen for a purpose.
For last may years, government at Kabul have asked the talibans to put a pause and rein its war machine, so to pave the way for genuine peace talks to happen. But talibans flatly refuse so. By their stand point, they have an appropriate reason, as they don’t consider the government at Kabul a legitimate and legal entity, rather an imposed and a stooge of the United States of America. Accordingly, at purpose they say that if real peace talks are to take place than U.S should make such an announcement of putting a halt to the war, while equivalently, talibans shall reciprocate. But consequently, US does not do so and keep pressing talibans to listen to Kabul government demands and the proverb, beating around the bush, proves its case.
In last three months, genuine efforts have been put by U.S and talibans to put an end to the war in Afghanistan. Such efforts are entrusted to formulate a cohesive and conclusive government at kabul, with an exit strategy for foreign military forces, and lastly to absorb talibans legitimate demands. But once again, war efforts by both sides to inflict maximum pain to one another, continues. To be precise US Special Forces in Afghanistan are presently conducting about fifteen night raids, every night, all across Afghanistan to pluck high value targets of talibans. While knowing the fact that night raids are a thorny issue in Afghanistan and talibans use it, over her electronic media outlets against U.S war efforts. Meanwhile, talibans have also increased ambushes of U.S / NATO forces convoys and also targeting them via powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs). By doing so, both sides have managed to gain relative successes by killing maximum number of each other’s men, as possible.
About few days ago, talibans managed to put up their signature move of shock and awe attack at heart of Kabul city. A vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) attack was conducted over UK’s private security contracting company, G4S, main headquarters at Kabul. The attack was instantly followed by 4 suiciders, who breached into the almost demolished compound and put up a fight for hours to come. This attack had to be reciprocated in kind and up came a drone strike over talibans highly important commander and shadow governor of Helmand province, Mullah Muhammad Rahim Akhund aka Abdul Mannan Akhund. Let’s register the fact that attack by talibans came over Englishmen at Kabul and it was answered in Englishmen domain of influence at Afghanistan i.e. Helmand province. By conducting such attacks over one another, both sides wants to articulate their prowess and prove the point home that look, you are at our crosshairs and manageable to be hit at will, so let’s talk hard ball over the round table and from seat of authority.
If one looks at Afghanistan now from the perspective of military and political standpoint, it’s vibrantly apparent that this tactic of using bruit force over one another, just to gain marginal points over the talking table is simply not working up, as the achievable maximum is achieved and there is hardly any room for gains. Reason being, that in 17 years of war and broken peace talks, both sides have solely realized each other’s standing within military spectrum and political acumen. Consequently, urge should be for both the sides to leave their hard glued stance and let this freshly baked peace talks process calls the shots. Firstly, U.S as a responsible republic and powerhouse of this terrestrial globe let her ego off the hook for the time being and calls for halt of all military operations against talibans. Later, talibans reciprocate in confirmative order and apply brakes to her war machine. We are already into the harsh winters of Afghanistan, when war foot print is almost minimal all across. Just night raids and special ops operations are on from US/ NATO forces and in return, IED and suicide attacks are volleyed by talibans. So winters offers the best possible opportunity for the working model, aforementioned.
But if both sides stick to old school calling that, Peace talks and war machine, goes parallel than we may see even this round of peace talks falter badly. As talks may proceed to a fast forward phase and a Taliban commander letting lose independently from the talibans guidance council for a spectacular shock attack at Kabul or a push to overrun a provincial capital may cement the fate of peace talks. While on the other hand, US forces may be able to hunt down 3 to 4 important men of talibans in one go and that enrages the talibans for merciless revenge. These are the real spoilers which may doom the all vulnerable peace talks. Better off for now is to make maximum of the 4 months of winters and keep a courageous restraint at war theater and let talks takes its roots for one last time.
The writer is an expert on Afghanistan.