Following remarks by the High Peace Council Chief in an address to the Afghan parliament on contacts made with the militant groups' leaders, the outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said political talks between the U.S. and the Afghan Taliban may start by the end of this year. However, he warned that a precipitous drawdown would endanger hard-won gains on the battlefield over the past year. Few weeks later than Al Qaeda Mastermind was killed by the US SEAL team in Abbottabad, and with intense budget pressures at home, the US administration seems more determined to withdraw troops and put an end to the Afghan insurgency through diplomatic means.
The Pakistani Express Tribune on Tuesday reported that the United States had contacted the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar to make negotiations aimed at ending the conflict in Afghanistan. Quoting an unnamed source, the agency wrote, "A former Afghan Taliban spokesman has played a key role in the US-Taliban communication". "Abdul Haqiq, who was operating under the alias of Dr Mohammad Hanif as an Afghan Taliban spokesman, is said to have helped Washington reach out to Mullah Omar," the Paper added.
The news comes days after Afghan President Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart emphasized on the reconciliation process. Both the afghan government and the international community have recently approached the mission more politically rather than militarily as was conceived at the early stages of war. To pacify militants, the government has taken several steps to help the reconciliation process happen as expected.
In the latest move, Karzai government has asked the UN Security Council to remove more blacklisted Taliban names. Based on the request to facilitate peace talks, a special committee is going to announce the decision made on whether to remove eighteen more Taliban names from the UN sanctions record or not. As the talks offer to the Taliban is not something new, the international community, however afraid of loss, has backed the idea.
For that, the Obama administration has bluntly supported the peace talks with the Taliban, however, conditioned on preservation of the afghan national constitution and democratic achievements. The people also hope for a successful negotiation and safe transition process. But their fear on the possible undemocratic outcomes of negotiation with Taliban needs to be taken into account by afghan government and the world community involved in the process.