By Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
The New Yorker magazine has recently disclosed that, United States is once again making direct contacts with the Afghan Taliban. As per the author of the article, “US in direct talks with Taliban” Steve Coll, these talks are still in the exploratory stage, aiming to asses, as to who is the real leader of the Taliban in this war torn country. Indeed, U.S and Karazai Government would be very careful this time, as earlier they have been deceived by a fake Taliban leader, impersonating former Taliban Minister, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mnasour.
Since 2008, US made several attempts to persuade the Taliban to encourage them to become part of the Afghan Government. In this regards, US even divided them into good and the bad Taliban. Perhaps, good were those Taliban, who would have reconciled with US stay in Afghanistan, and bad ones, those who are fighting against the foreign occupation of their country by either US or the NATO. US and Karazai Government blamed British spying agency; MI-6 for this contact with the imposter.
Talks and negotiations with the Taliban are the only option with US, if the super power really desires an honourable exit from this country. Pakistan has long been sincerely emphasizing the US to get into the negotiation with the Taliban and war lords, controlling over 70 percent territory of Afghanistan. This is the only way-out, for a durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. However, how far US can go ahead with its agenda of the talks would be decided on the ground realities. The fact of the matter is that, rather getting a local support, US acceptance graph in Afghanistan has drastically decreased in last two years. Resultantly, there has been increase in the area of the influence of the Taliban and the war lords.
Today, Taliban are hell bent on only one pre-condition that, before any negotiations, NATO and US forces must pull out from Afghan soil. The US strategy has been maximum, the carrot and the stick. There have been occasions where Pakistan really assisted United States, for getting into successful negotiations with the Taliban, but, in the realm of power politics, US perhaps thought that, it can subdue the valiant sons of Afghanistan through the use of force; a fallacy, Britain and Soviet Union had tried earlier. Even after fully recognizing the need of negotiations, it used the force, just to give an impression that; US would negotiate from the stand point of domination, rather playing on the level field. Marjah Operation of February-2010 and Kandahar operation in September-2010 are the cases in point.
In the current attempt, if at all U.S is serious in the dialogue process with the Taliban, then it should not discriminate between the good and bad Taliban nor the hardliners and the moderate. Taliban in Afghanistan is a reality to be reckoned with. Moreover, US would have to abandon the military operations, which so far have resulted into enormous losses of innocent lives in Afghanistan.
There is yet another factor which U.S needs to take into consideration. This is the ever increasing Indian role in Afghanistan. As about US, majority of the Afghans have lot of reservations about the real agenda of the India in this country of traditions and religious minded people. In the garb of the reconstruction, India indeed, has the imperialistic designs in Afghanistan.
Until now, U.S has been more biased towards India, for the obvious reasons of both having the same long-term agenda of capturing the natural resources of the region and the containment of the rising power of China. India however is waging an undeclared war against Pakistan, using the Afghan soil. There is about time that, US should stop its strategic partner (India) from playing the double game or else Pakistan should part ways from its narcissistic ally, which has taught us to remain dependent always, rather embarking on the track of self-sufficiency. After all we are an independent and a sovereign nation with the sole right to make our own decisions for our future generation.