Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

Which One: Diplomatic Negotiation or Military Action?

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Which One: Diplomatic Negotiation or Military Action?

Militancy is the crux of problem in the region mainly Afghanistan. Terrorist networks seek to extend their reach through suicide bombings and deadly attacks. If you view daily news in Asian countries, the casualty rate of terrorist victims is increasing. People are hurt mentally, physically and emotionally. However, military attacks against terrorism have been proved abortive, since people are killed or amputated on a massive scale throughout the region. Afghanistan is one of the countries remaining vulnerable to militancy and the Taliban guerilla fighters are carrying out extremely deadly attacks.
The issue of terrorism came to stalemate in Afghanistan and debated hotly in recent days with the Taliban’s intensified attacks. The US, which is Afghanistan’s ally, intends to review its strategy regarding the growing militancy in the country. Reports say that a high-level delegation of US senators met civil and military leaders and visited the South Waziristan tribal region along with Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Monday. Subsequently, the delegation arrived in Kabul on Tuesday to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, US commanders and Afghan high-ranking officials to discuss the security situation.  
“We have made it very clear that we expect they (Pakistan) will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network and against terrorist organizations,” McCain, chairman of the US Senate Armed Services Committee, is cited as saying. “If they don’t change their behavior, maybe we should change our behavior towards Pakistan as a nation.”
The senators’ visit to Islamabad and Kabul comes at a time when the US is gearing up to send more troops to Afghanistan to support Afghan forces straining to beat back the resurgent Taliban. McCain called for more than just troops, however, urging “a strategy to win” a war that has dragged on for 16 years and which even US generals concede is at a “stalemate”.
The US currently has 8,400 troops deployed under the NATO banner, and is thought to be mulling sending up to 4,000 more. In addition, NATO, whose Operation Resolute Support numbers some 13,500, including the Americans, also promised last week to enhance its presence in Afghanistan.
Afghan defense officials have welcomed this strategy which will take a “regional approach” rather than addressing the country’s long-running war in isolation.
In the meantime, Afghanistan will follow the negotiation of peace with the Taliban elements. For instance, the leader of Hezb-e-Islami party Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has ushered in a new reconciliation process to bring the Taliban to negotiating table. This comes as the hope for negotiation had shattered as the militant fighters repeatedly held out against the negotiation and continued violence and bloodshed. In brief, the Afghan government as part of its peace initiatives has knocked on several doors over the past fifteen years with the hope of persuading the militant group to hold negotiation. But the Taliban denied to do so.
In addition to leaving the door of negotiation open to warring parties, the Afghan government will also seek military action and welcome any effective strategies suggested by its allies and neighboring countries. The militants, mainly the Taliban, are left with two choices for long ago either to face military action or hold talks. The High Peace Council (HPC) is operating actively to persuade the Taliban to stop killing innocent civilians.
With the repeated failure of peace process, Afghan nation hardly ever hold out hope and optimism regarding this process. The question is that will Hekmatyar be able to persuade the Taliban to hold talks?  The role of Hekmatyar being newly put into practice is a mystery for the nation and not predictable. I am not hopeful enough in this regard, since Hekmatyar was in conflict with the Taliban both ideologically and militarily. For example, his men had clashes with the Taliban many times in the past. Moreover, he condemned Taliban’s attacks against the Afghan nation. On the other hand, his agreement with Afghan government drew Taliban’s condemnation. But he was in the heart of political issues and gained much experience. Perhaps his close relation with Pakistani and Afghan government might bridge the gap between the two countries so as to hold joint struggle for peace.
What can one say is that there is no other way except for holding negotiation or intensifying military action? Is there a third way? The cause for concern is that both ways need to be changed and a traditional manner will not tackle the political crises. Now not only Afghanistan but the countries involved in this stalemate should seek the more effective way out of these two dilemmas. What is more important is that combating terrorism, in any possible ways, needs regional and global cooperation.

Sakhi Danish is an emerging writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at the outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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