The Capture of Baradar - Implications for Peace in Afghanistan

The USA/NATO-led Afghan forces are pushing deeper into the southern stronghold of Taliban in Afghanistan amidst reports of the Taliban using Afghan people as 'Human Shields' to thwart the military offensive against them. Now, the Pakistani government has confirmed the so-called capture of BARADAR , the number two in the hierarchy of the Taliban leadership. This capture which many analysts have seemingly correctly speculated seemed to have been staged by the ISI of Pakistan to facilitate opening of the possibility of compromise/reconciliation talks with the Talibani leadership without letting the Taliban leadership loose face in the muslim world by appearing to have caved in voluntarily and simultaneously trying to ensure key role for Pakistan in any future dispensation in Afghanistan! The capture was perhaps stage-managed so as not to hurt the pride of the Taliban leaders!
In any case, the so-called capture of BARADAR is a good omen for all concerned. Irrespective of whether the Talibanese are being rightly or wrongly pressed by the western military forces aided by Hamid Karzai's military , the muslim world would do well not to aid fuel to fire by encouraging Talibani leadership to fight to the finish, since its beyond doubt that the Talibani military capability is no match to the Allied forces. Also, the Allied forces sooner or later is likely to overcome the Talibani military resistance. The only looser would be the innocent common Afghan citizens who would get caught in the cross-fire as has happened earlier elsewhere in the world like as in Iraq or Northern Jafna.
The Talibani leadership would do well to remember that the world has come a long way since the unfortunate September 11 tragedy. Its time the Taliban integrated into the democratic political mainstream of Afghanistan. The democratic set up allows flourishing of diverse ideologies without encroaching upon the democratic rights of others. The Talibanese followers may flourish in a democratic Afghanistan without jeopardising the freedom of other competing democratic forces.Also, its in the interests of self-survival of Pakistan in the long-term to persuade the Talibani elements to join the democratic process. Pakistan may get disintegrated in future through the machinations of the extremist Pakistani elements encouraged by the extremist ideology of the Taliban if the Talibani elements were not educated to change to democratic ethos.
It would certainly be better for Pakistan not to hanker after getting the key role in Afghanistan and instead focus its all energy on saving itself from likely disintegration in future. In any case, going by all the indications available, Pakistan isn't going to get the key role in Afghan affairs even after integration of the Taliban into democratic Afghan polity. So, the best option for Pakistani leadership would seem to be to ensure total peace in Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent by working jointly with India in this endeavour.

Thakur Sher Singh Parmar

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