Implications of the southern push by the allied forces for peace in Afghanistan

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The USA and 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 Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar , the number two in the hierarchy after Mullah Omar and the top military commander of the Taliban leadership and Mullah Abdul Salam, the shadow governor of Afghanistan's Kunduz province.

These captures which many analysts have seemingly correctly speculated were perhaps staged by the ISI of Pakistan to facilitate opening of the possibility of compromise and reconciliation talks with the Taliban 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. These captures were perhaps stage-managed so as not to hurt the pride of the Taliban leaders.

In any case, the so-called captures of Baradar and Salam seem to be a good omen for all concerned. Irrespective of whether the Taliban is 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 Taliban leadership to fight to the finish, since its beyond doubt that the Taliban military capability is no match for  the Allied forces.

Also, the Allied forces are sooner or later likely to overcome the Taliban military resistance. The only looser would be the innocent common Afghan citizens who would get caught in the crossfire as has happened elsewhere in the world like as in Iraq or Northern Jaffna.

The Taliban leadership would do well to remember that the world has come a long way since the unfortunate September 11 tragedy. Its high 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 Taliban followers may flourish in a democratic Afghanistan without jeopardising the freedom of other competing democratic groups. Also, its in the interests of self-survival of Pakistan in the long-term to persuade the Taliban 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 Afghan Taliban if the Afghan Taliban 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 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 great peace endeavour.

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