Afghanistan: Light at the end of the tunnel

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A triple ‘S’ ambience accompanied the intra-Afghan peace talks at Murree: shock, surprise and scepticism. The talks first came as a shock to the detractors of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s policy on Pakistan, the group of people in Kabul who had thought that they had kicked up enough dust over the NDS-ISI deal to put Ghani on the defensive. Many others never expected players like Hikmet Karzai, the official chief negotiator — considered a Karzai associate — to be part of the talks and thus were painfully surprised to see the Afghan Taliban and government officials hugging each other at the end of a marathon meeting