Trilateral talks... By Saanwal
13 September, 2012
It was tremendously heartening to know that the trilateral talks involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US had been initiated and the Taliban leaders were actually invited. It certainly substantiates the triumph of the trilateral meeting of the three partners held in April. The ultimate goal should always be to take the steps that can prove helpful at the instant, rather than the measures that require years or decades to yield results. In this regard even quadrilateral talks could be established, involving India as well.
In the long run, only negotiations and peaceful settlements render the desirable outcomes, instead of indiscriminate drone attacks. The initiative of reconciliation cannot be deemed one side's triumph and the other's defeat; it is a mutual, constructive and beneficial scheme for the rivals to recognise one another and show intent to regard one another as significant.
'The win-win' strategy is better than any other technique, most of which are destructive. More so is the case when for more than a decade, the unwise war on terrorism seems to fuel terrorism rather than to curb it. Of course, as a gesture of goodwill and sincere commitment, it is a great idea to de-list peace-seeking Taliban from the UN sanctions list. It could even persuade other Taliban leaders to join and negotiate diplomatic channels that could ultimately lead the Taliban towards a different identity in the world.
I am flabbergasted that some people term the negotiations with the Taliban useless and a waste of time. Negotiations can only do well if at all they can do something; they can rarely prove negative because the 'war on terrorism' persists even during the time of these mutual talks, so attempts at a diplomatic settlement is a way out of the mess prevalent in global security and order currently.
More than 10 years of war has not taken either the Taliban or the US anywhere; both sides know this and that is why both seem rather inclined towards some sort of compromise. The Taliban are definitely not just one united group; there are different sorts of Taliban sub-groups, each occupying and flourishing in particular territories and indisputably having quite diverse interests. Who knows, even if one group condemns peace talks the other may intend to acquire some channel to present their point; there is still great scope for reconciliation. The US, Afghanistan and Pakistan, therefore, ought to find ways to reach out to these to see what each one has to say; a microanalysis approach can work the best.
SAANWAL KARAMAT BARLAAS
Bagh, Azad Kashmir