Not only is Kabul worried over what would be its fate as coalition forces rush out, so is Islamabad as it sees a new wave of extremism in the region. It is a catch-22 situation. But the point is, there is no going back from here with the intention of abandoning the region in a lurch. Washington has no choice but to sit with all the regional stakeholders and openly discuss a formula for ensuring political peace in the region.
The forthcoming summit in Chicago this month could be of great help. The coalition partners should make it a point to strike an understanding on security and peace, and subsequently expedite their withdrawal plan. The more foreign forces stay put in Afghanistan, the more volatile the region will grow. The ambiguity that is evident at the moment in the US strategy in which a section of thought supports drone attacks, whereas few see it as the root cause of all ills, is in need of being sorted out. Drones have merely furthered radicalism and have come to pose the dispensations in Afghanistan and Pakistan as spineless administrations. This perception is quite suicidal and cannot come to further the objectives of confidence building and rapprochement in the region.
The US has already missed the bus as it failed to strike a deal with the Taleban. The undercover talks in Qatar and the second-tier meddling could have changed the dynamics for peace had either parties not come up with a long laundry list. The demand on the part of Washington to persuade Taleban to acknowledge President Karzai’s administration as a legal entity in furthering talks had acted as a spanner in the works. Secondly, the demand from the militia to see an unconditional and instant exit of US and NATO troops couldn’t make any headway, and the initiative had come crumbling down. If peace and tranquility has to be there in Southwest Asia, the US, Taleban and regional allies have to pick the threads once again, and knit in a new roadmap of give-and-take. Let the meet in Chicago be an epochmaking opportunity. Why not invite the Taleban as observers to share their state of mind and get down to a negotiated solution. Khaleej Times