WEB DESK: Isn’t it a measure of nearly absent writ of administration in Kabul that the deputy governor of Helmand had to reach out to President Ghani seeking reinforcements to avert the fall of his province to Taliban through an open letter on Facebook? “Your Excellency, Helmand is standing on the brink and there is a serious need for you to come,” Mohammad Jan Rasulyar wrote on this social media website.
Or is it that he too have joined the Afghan officials who want to embarrass the President? It was only this month that the Afghan intelligence chief announced his resignation through Facebook. The province of Helmand ‘would never fall’, says an Afghan Army spokesman. The reality on the ground may be different from what both sides have tried to depict. Possibly, it may be an admixture of both, and closer to the fact that Afghanistan remains in turmoil, without much in evidence to suggest that the next round of peace talks between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban, if at all it materialises, would succeed in breaking the ice in any significant way.
What is new and daunting to Afghan reconciliation is not only the thickening footprint of the Daesh in the country. Moreover, the long lost Soviet era Mujahedeen too are warming up to enter the great game. The Daesh is believed to be expanding its influence in bordering provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar, projecting its message both through grisly videos and a mobile FM radio – something the Swati terrorist Fazluallah had successfully employed. One would like to share Afghan acting defence minister Masoom Stanekzi’s bravado that he would ‘destroy’ Daesh and other militant groups.
We don’t know if his bravado stems from reports that Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf-led Mujahedeen’s reported decision to stand by the elected government in Kabul. But even then odds against him are enormously formidable. The Daesh and Mujahedeen are new entrants, but their craving to have power cannot be underestimated.
Obviously, the possibility of next round of intra-Afghan reconciliation dialogue is going to be far more complicated. But it must be held and held as early as possible, much before the new entrants raise the ante claiming their indispensability to obtaining right ambience for national reconciliation. That ante cannot be anything but violence. Over the time, the Afghan Taliban have emerged as almost undisputed voice, as much for series of their battlefield victories as for their amenability to peace process.
And, to much relief of well-wishers of a peaceful Afghanistan the Afghan Taliban have rejected Al-Baghdadi’s ‘caliphate’, warning him against recruiting Afghans. That sits perfectly well with the international community which has come to adjudge Daesh a global threat and appears agreeable to put behind all other bilateral and multilateral differences and disputes and go after this monster.
Russia, for example, is exchanging information with the Taliban and sees shared interest with the Mulla Mansour-led outfit when it comes to dealing with the spectre of Daesh. For now, the Taliban leadership is said to be in consultations with representatives of the quadruple (Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China). And as the quadruple powers set the stage for resumption of second round of intra-Afghan dialogue they too need to embrace emerging ground realities in Afghanistan.
For instance, one finds difficult to comprehend what Ambassador Richard Olson, now the United States’ point man in the region, meant when he told the US Congress that to defeat Pakistan Taliban (TTP) Pakistan ‘must also fight the Afghan Taliban’. Mind you that kind of misrepresentation had scuttled the Afghan peace process set in motion in Pakistan’s picturesque town Murree.
If Olson wants the American forces to revisit Afghan battlefields, we don’t know. Otherwise, the complexity of the situation demands that nothing should be said and done to create doubts and thus undermine the Afghan government’s trust and derail the resumption of intra-Afghan talks.
Source: Business Recorder