US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday told Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa that the success achieved in the Afghan peace process would not have been possible without the sincere and unconditional support of Pakistan. During their meeting on Monday, the COAS credited Prime Minister Imran Khan for Pakistan’s role in starting of intra-Afghan dialogue.
The US acknowledgement is not without genuine reasons as Pakistan facilitated the US-Taliban agreement signed in February, got the warring sides to observe ceasefire on Eid, and helped break the stalemate over the prisoners’ release that had been delaying the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue for about six months. In fact, Pakistan risked frictions in its relations with the United States by adopting a clear-cut line that there was no military solution to the 17-year old conflict in Afghanistan and only a political settlement would ensure durable peace in the war-torn country. Though the maiden talks in Doha could not produce anything substantial but no breakthrough was expected as the issues involved are sensitive and complicated and would require in-depth and lengthy discussions to sort them out. The very fact that Taliban and the Afghan Government having views poles apart came to direct contact with each other is an achievement itself and ice could melt in future face to face talks. But this would require steadfast support from all stakeholders and facilitating role especially by all regional countries. There are already indications that some countries are bent upon spoiling the atmosphere for success of the dialogue process and recent surge in violent incidents confirm this belief. As Afghans have an historic opportunity to restore peace in their country, it is hoped that both the Afghan Government and Taliban would not allow enemies of peace to succeed in their designs.