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Prisoners of peace


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Since the arrival of Salahuddin Rabbani, chairman of the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, to Pakistan, there has been significant progress in talks between Kabul and Islamabad, especially since Pakistan freed a number of Taliban prisoners for handover – something that ‘has been a longstanding Afghan demand for catalysing the slow moving process’ of bringing the militants to the negotiating table.

According to the same report, “The two sides urged the Taliban and other insurgent groups to join the process of reconciliation and asked them to disassociate themselves from Al Qaeda and other trans-national terror groups, but stayed short of setting it as a precondition for becoming part of the peace process.” Do you think bringing the militants to the negotiating table is a positive step towards achieving peace throughout the region? Will the process of negotiation be as simple as asking them to disassociate themselves from Al Qaeda and other trans-national terror groups?

As of November 15, 2012, Pakistan will consider freeing former Afghan Taliban second-in-command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. A report says that, “After releasing 13 Taliban, Pakistan promised to free Mullah Baradar if these releases prove effective in peace negotiations. Afghan officials believe he may command enough respect to persuade the Taliban to engage in talks with the Kabul government.” Will Pakistan’s move be considered wise amongst its own military circles since his capture was hailed as a “big success” back in 2010? If Mullah Baradar is as important as Afghan officials claim to be he his then how come Pakistan has not yet interrogated him since the last two years for useful information or made use of his capture in any positive light post arrest?

While all efforts are being made to speed up the progress in reconciliation efforts with the Taliban before presidential elections in April 2014 and before most Nato combat troops pull out at the end of 2014, Kabul and Islamabad are still reeling from the effects of their past love-hate relationship. According to a report, “Rabbani was named the council chief after his predecessor, his father Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated in Sept 2011 by a suicide bomber who purported to be a Taliban peace envoy. Peace talks were derailed then as Afghan officials lashed out at Islamabad over the killing, saying it was planned in Pakistan and carried out by a Pakistani with a bomb in his turban. Pakistan denied the charges and blamed Afghan refugees living in Pakistan for the murder. Earlier this year in August, a similar visit by the peace council chief was put off following tensions between the two countries over cross-border shelling.” Isn’t it about time that both Pakistan and Afghanistan stop pointing fingers and quarrelling like children in such times of tension? Is it not time to put all their differences aside and listen to each other’s qualms with open ears, hearts and minds to conjure up joint solutions for stability in the Af-Pak region?

Comments (10) Closed

Mukesh Nov 17, 2012 01:15pm
Peace must be given a chance but I have huge doubts that its going to work out.
life Nov 25, 2012 05:31pm
why justice is not done to terrorist . why they are not punished for the reason they are put behind the wars and why the courts don't take action against them ? i think all of them know they will be out again and be able to carry out their activities because they have good backing
life Nov 25, 2012 05:32pm
why justice is not done to terrorist . why they are not punished for the reason they are put behind the bars and why the courts don
Sue Sturgess Nov 17, 2012 02:45am
There are many possible solutions, and most come down to money. Money buys the bullets, money pays the corrupt politicians, money keeps the drug trade flourishing. The US, Pakistan and Saudi all poured money and other resources into the Taliban to get Russia out of Afghanistan, and now complain because they can no longer control it. Choke the money supply. Meanwhile a decent education system will stem the supply of willing martyrs, by keeping the kids out of madrassahs.
Sami Khan Nov 16, 2012 12:56pm
US, Afghanistan and Pakistan face very different realities in terms of extremist terrorism. The US is looking for an 'honourable' escape route as it has already re-adjusted its counter terrorism strategy to allow reduction of on ground troops, Afghanistan does not have the institutional capacity to combat these groups as the Americans leave (the US itself failed in Afghanistan). Pakistan has the most serious threat because militancy spreads in its veins across the country and the TTP in tribal areas (symptomatic of the malaise) continues to be a threat. But Pakistan also has the ability to combat the menace as it has more robust institutions than Afghanistan and its military operations have proved more successful than the US. While US will escape, the Afghans face an uncertain future we need to ensure we deal with the problem on our terms and conditions and take a simple no negotiation stance outside the Constitution but making sure we combat the problem beyond the symptoms and also address the fundamental causes through a multi-pronged approach and not just army operations. Negotiations with fascists do not work, history has witnessed this before.
Agha Ata Nov 16, 2012 12:59pm
The question is that what the demands of militants are and what they hope to achieve at the negotiating table. What a common man understands is this: Militants or Taliban want Afghanistan back and also enforce Sharia everywhere, until this goal is achieved they will continue killing everybody who is kafir in their opinion. So what can be offered to them in return to make them stop fighting and killing? If Taliban are really adamant to get what I have described above, then there is hardly any solution except though a military action!
Zafar Malik Nov 16, 2012 05:58pm
Taliban are Islamic fascists but with mental faculties much more limited than the fascists of Europe. They are uneducated and irrational brutes. They don't understand the realities of modren world and think that a tiny tribal village which existed some15 hundred years ago in Arabia is a model for this complex global village we live in today. They have every right to live in their fools paradise, but they have no right to impose their strange backward ideas on any society. Handing over Afghanistan to them once again would be a great injustice to poor Afghans. No matter what shape the future Afghanistan takes, Taliban and other political mullahs should have no place in it.
Ahmed j Nov 16, 2012 09:59am
These prisoners are freed behest American orders. Our people would follow what the media says. As a human we have animal instincts. People will follow the leading sheep. We are at war for the past 12 yrs on foreign orders and still unable to wipe out the Taliban. There is a saying if anything does't kill you make you stronger. Infact we made the Taliban harder and stronger. We have weak resources, and look at our economy compared to India. While we were fighting the war for the white man, Indians were making economy with them. Do we have any other viable option than fighting them?
Guest63 Nov 17, 2012 05:30pm
Yes we we if we want to . Leave the Afghan to themselves off and beyond the Durrend Line ( Intl accepted boder between Pakistan and Afghanistan ) and drop the slightest idea of Strategic Depth . Let it be the problem of Afghan for Afghan to sort out between them . In 1965 Buttho urged his dady Ayub to launch the strikes vis Mujahideens into the Kashmir , the nation paid the price of 1965 war dead viaIndian attack , we did not learn the lesson .. in 1971 We mishandled the East wing case , India intevened and we paid a much bigger price of loosing half the country , we did not learn the lesson . in 1979 we became paid soldiers to fight the American funded and bank rolled and and and every thing TERMED JEHAD , with amwerican , British , Saudi money and weapons , we embarked on a unholy killings called jehad , we are still paying the price for that adventure of miss givings that finally we have our Strategic depth scenario paying us back ..... We are being cut to pieces every day in day out by these very Monsters , we with the Almighty Help of America , we created and let them loose on each other in afghanistan FORGETTING the proverb What Go around Comes around , so for God sake , let them disappear beyond Durrent line and let them mind their country and their business themselves , We have no more stomach for them or for any body else . if we mind out own business within our own territory , we will be better off i think
riz Nov 17, 2012 01:34pm
If setting free the taliban was of any help to the peace process then things would have been different today in afghanistan and pakistan but it isnt. A long term solution should be sort out by america, in better interest of the country they have so badly devasted. afghan people should decide for their future instead of a radical taliban group who has no interest to work for the common people they will rule.