Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, February 25th, 2021

How to Fit Peace Jigsaw Puzzle Together?

The Taliban group has maintained its ties with al-Qaeda despite pledging to the United States to cut their ties.
The group has not honored its deal with Washington signed in February last year. The Taliban outfit is seeking to gain unilateral concessions at the table as it shows lukewarm response to the peace talks through intensifying their attacks and insisting on US troop withdrawal. It urges for having their preconditions fulfilled without pledging to accept the offer of their Afghan interlocutors – which is a real foul game at the table.
Meanwhile, the Taliban delegation traveled to Iran and Pakistan to show its international credit. Having a political office in Qatar, signing peace deal with the United States, and traveling to neighboring countries all have emboldened the group to a great extent. In a rare confession, the Taliban’s head of political office Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar acknowledged that its leadership councils and fighters were in Pakistan, which is a bold and brazen admission. Pakistani officials did not deny Baradar’s remarks.
Worst, the Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has said that a ceasefire between the group and the government will be announced once the Taliban achieve their goals and aspirations. He warns that if the peace talks end inconclusively, the Taliban will take the “final military action.”
He stresses that a complete withdrawal of the US troops and the establishment of a real Islamic government are the preconditions for a ceasefire.
In response to Mujahid’s remarks, President Ghani’s deputy spokesperson Dawa Khan Menapal wrote on Twitter that the Taliban receive support from Pakistan’s Lahore and are trying to destroy Afghanistan and displace its people.
The Taliban should note that their current war was against the Afghan political system and people.
The Afghan peace process has turned to a jigsaw puzzle with too many bewildering pieces. The Taliban, despite gaining concessions, are unwilling to cut their ties with the international terrorist networks and seek both monopolization of power and imposition of their mindset and styles on the public.
On the other hand, their backers are not willing to withdraw their supports from them.
However, neither the Afghan government nor the international community can trust the Taliban outfit since it has not honored its deal with Washington and offered nothing in return for the concessions it received.
Meanwhile, the people of Afghanistan will not accept the Taliban’s Sharia-based draconian law.
Afghans have made it clear that peace at the cost of their rights and liberties and democratic achievements, including the constitutional principles, will not be acceptable to them.
The Taliban’s insistence on selling their demands and preconditions, the destructive engagement of some countries in the peace process, and Afghans’ unwillingness to backtrack on their own demands make the jigsaw puzzle too hard to fit together.
To fit the pieces of the puzzle together, there is a strong need to international consensus. However, the problem is that there are a number of foul players who try to cheat.
Fitting the pieces of this puzzle is not that easy. Some pieces seem to be missing since there are secret interactions with the Taliban by some countries. In the meantime, the Taliban are the real foul players.
The United States should pressure on the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan side with genuine intention and stop their foul game. They have to honor the US-Taliban deal through cutting their ties with al-Qaeda and other international terrorist networks and reducing violence.
Furthermore, the United States should put pressure on regional and global actors to use their leverage on the Taliban leadership. Those states who do not act sincerely in combating terrorism and terrorist groups, including the Taliban, strict sanctions had to be imposed on them. 
In short, if the Taliban continue playing foul game and urging for unilateral concessions without honoring their deal with Washington and negotiating with goodwill, the US-led NATO countries increase the number of their soldiers in the country and intensify their attacks on the Taliban and target their safe havens wherever they were found. Meanwhile, Afghan soldiers have to adopt the shoot-on-the-head strategy on the battlefields.
Meanwhile, religious clerics around the world and Afghan clerics and Ulema Council issue fatwa of jihad against the Taliban. In such a case, a large number of people would volunteer to fight against the group. The Taliban are not an undefeatable group if regional and global stakeholders play their role honestly.
Now it is up to the Taliban whether to seize the created opportunity or miss it.