Taliban will not be dealt with separately: Afghan President


Ashraf Ghani

At a time when the Taliban has intensified its attacks on local security forces and provinces after the NATO and US troops ended their combat mission last year, the Afghanistan government released a significant statement saying it will not deal with the militant group separately from other “armed opposition” in the country. The statement from President Ashraf Ghani’s office stated it would not accept any “parallel political structure” opposed to the Afghan government, in what was seen as a clear reference to Taliban that calls itself the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.

The peace talks between the Taliban and the government came to a halt a few days back after the Afghanistan government announced that the “Supreme leader of Taliban” Mullah Omar was dead, with Taliban confirming the news a couple of days later. Ever since the news of Mullah Omar’s death broke, there were a spate of reports suggesting that the Taliban was headed for a split into different factions.

Taliban’s newly-elected leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor is said to have pushed for negotiations with the Afghan government on Pakistan’s insistence. While the Taliban is seen as probably the biggest threat to Afghanistan, the rise of bigger terror outfits like ISIL may have forced Kabul to take a more measured approach in taking on Taliban.

Any split within the Taliban would be a setback to the peace process and could further escalate violence in the region. A breakdown of talks would make it doubly difficult for the Afghanistan government where it would have to tackle the Taliban at one end, and the ISIL at the other end.