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December 16, 2018
The Kabul Times
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Concreted efforts needed to bring peace, curb militancy in Afghanistan

Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow on Friday, aiming to end the war in Afghanistan, drawing delegates from the Afghan High Peace Council and a group representing the Taliban, as well as representatives from a dozen nations, including the United States.
“Russia stands for preserving the one and undivided Afghanistan, in which all of the ethnic groups that inhabit this country would live side by side peacefully and happily,” Russian FM Lavrov said, adding “Russia, as the organizer of this session, sees its role in working together with Afghanistan’s regional partners and friends who have gathered at this table to extend all possible assistance to facilitate the start of a constructive intra-Afghan dialogue,” he added.
The High Peace Council representative also delivered speech, insisting on Afghan-led and owned peace talks to end prolonged war in the country.
The talks come weeks after newly appointed US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, held talks with the Taliban group in Qatar. He will visit once again Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from November 8 to 20 to push for peace negotiations with the Taliban.
Recent efforts indicate Afghanistan’s realization of the importance of creating an international consensus on peace-making in the country and bringing the Taliban into the political fold. However, parallel processes that seek different outcomes for short-term gains can be counterproductive.
Afghanistan’s government is focused on building consensus—both domestically and among states in the region—to support a peace process with the Taliban insurgency, but the main challenges include continued support from Pakistan for the Taliban and an incremental recent Russian move toward immediate cooperation with the Taliban.
There is no doubt in the fact that Afghanistan would require regional support so as to eradicate terrorism effectively. Without a regional effort, there can be only temporary solutions to the problems of growing terrorism; it can be tamed for the time being but cannot be fully rooted out unless the countries in the region hold one another’s hands in unity and stand strong against it. But all the cooperation and coordination on peace affairs should be in line with Afghan government’s vision.
All the key players need to play their role in terms of peace process with bona fide intention and in close coordination with Afghan government. It is self-explanatory that peace negotiation was as fruitless as war on terror. Persisting on peace without practical step will be doomed to failure. For instance, government has currently focused the bulk of its attention on peace talks, whereas the Taliban have intensified their attacks against Afghan soldiers and civilians. 
To curb militancy in the country as well as to reduce its threats to the region and the world, Russia, US and other regional and world countries should give up rivalries and join hand to bring peace to the war-suffered nation.
Joint and concreted efforts by all countries are needed to address the challenges of terrorism, dismantle terrorist infrastructure, and disrupt all financial and tactical support provided by some states, criminal networks and individuals.