A delegation of the Taliban Political Commission (TPC), under Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar’s leadership is in Pakistan to hold consultations on the Afghan peace process. The arrival of the Taliban delegation is significant as it follows an anxious trip of America’s Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to Islamabad on Monday. Pakistan is already aware of the apprehensions of the US; the biggest fear of the current administration is the uptick in violence across Afghanistan right after the peace deal with the Taliban.
The intra-Afghan peace process is already on hold, as representatives of the two major stakeholders, i.e., the Afghan government and Taliban, are consulting their chiefs. The surge in violence and the transition in the US government have already complicated the situation on the ground. All these factors make Pakistan’s role far more crucial to the success of the intra-Afghan dialogue than ever. These are excellent moments for a reset and offer Pakistan an opportunity to meet all actors in the peace process and try to play the role of mediator wherever possible.
By inviting the Taliban’s contingent to Islamabad, the government has shown our commitment to peace in Afghanistan and the broader region. Pakistan deserves appreciation for this diplomatic initiative. Our primary topic of discussion will be convincing the Taliban to stop relying on violence to achieve their targets when negotiations are still an option available. There are already signs that many in Afghanistan expect a positive outcome with Pakistan’s intervention on these lines.
The attacks of Afghan security forces and Taliban against each other for winning more bargaining space have made ordinary Afghans the most affected segment of the society. Perhaps, these attacks pose the most significant challenge before Pakistan right now. Convincing all the parties to give a call for a ceasefire will indeed be an uphill task for Islamabad. Nevertheless, Islamabad’s decision to reach out to all the players involved in the peace process is a sound foreign policy strategy that will have positive implications for Afghanistan as well as the entire region.