Presidentand his Afghan counterpart, , agreed during their recent talks at the White House that both the countries should back Taliban reconciliation in the war-ravaged Afghanistan. The two leaders appear to have started realizing that no permanent peace in Afghanistan can be achieved without bringing Taliban and their affiliated militant groups in the mainstream. Yes, Taliban will have to lay down arms and express their willingness to be part of the peace process as a pre-requisite to have dialogue with representatives of the Afghan government and the Obama administration.
At the moment, it is not clear if the Obama administration will become party in dialogue with the Taliban. However, it is a welcome move to restore peace and stability in the volatile country.
In the meeting, Karzai and Obama also gave a go ahead for establishment of a Taliban political office in Qatar in the hope of bringing Taliban insurgents to the negotiating table. It should be noted here that a few months back, a couple of the Obama administration representatives called on Taliban representatives at the Qatar office, but the talks were stalled after Taliban demanded release of their colleagues detained in the Guantanamo Bay. At that time, the Obama administration said that it was bound under the constitution not to hand over suspected terrorists being detained in the Guantanamo Bay to any other country. It will be premature to say that the Obama administration will now reconsider its position over the Guantanamo Bay detainees if the Taliban again make the same demand.
Hamid Karzai, during his recent talks with President Barack Obama at the White House, clinched another victory to woo Taliban and that is taking control of prisons from the United States in Afghanistan. Definitely, it is a big achievement for President Karzai, as it has been a longstanding demand of his government as well as the Taliban. Why is it important to reconcile with the Afghan Taliban? Since the US invasion in Afghanistan in October 2001, a number of high-value targets have been eliminated. Hundreds of militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida have been killed so far. But despite the fact, Taliban still control a large tract of Afghanistan, while the writ of the Karzai government does not extend outside Kabul, the federal capital.
As the US plans to pull out troops from the violence-wracked country by the end of 2014, the US planners intend to find out a permanent solution of the Afghan problem so that bloodshed and violence cannot return in the country. It is only possible if Taliban are brought to the negotiating table and coaxed to lay down arms in the interest of their country and compatriots. So, it is heartening to learn that both Obama and Karzai realize sensitivity of the situation and agree to help each other for a better future of the Afghan people.