Prospects of Peace in Afghanistan

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Abstract

The National Unity Government (NUG) has expressed positive overtures towards Taliban and has been exploring and pursuing several avenues to initiate talks with the group. The Taliban while consistently refusing to hold talks, have demanded withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and amendments in the constitution. Achieving national reconciliation and establishing peace with the Afghan Taliban is the central challenge, among others, for the government. Moreover, the  ongoing Taliban’s offensive,  Mullah Omer’s death and divided opinion within Taliban over  Mullah Mansoor as the new leader has underlined stark complexities in the process. The reluctance on the part of certain factions within the group to hold talks is making the possibility of the talks bleak. However, with the developments such as the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference and the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), it still remains to be seen whether the Afghan Government will be able to make a breakthrough with the group and engage them in constructive talk. This paper focuses on the current overtures initiated by the NUG to initiate and establish peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. It also looks at previous efforts and whether, in the light of changing dynamics, a breakthrough can be achieved with the Taliban to put an end to the conflict. The paper also examines the role of Pakistan and China in the ongoing peace process in the region.

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