Pak jockeying for influence in Afghanistan post US withdrawal dangerous for region

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Lahore, Mar. 22 (ANI): The exit of US troops from Afghanistan without a functioning democratic set-up in place, and Pakistan constantly vying for influence in the war-torn country, has all the ingredients of a recipe for disaster, the Daily Times opines.

The Bush administration's 2003 strategy was "good for invasion and occupation, but reconstruction, rehabilitation and development of a war-ravaged society needs much more than the highly sophisticated war machinery," the paper points out.

However, the Obama administration is hoping to compel the Taliban to come to the negotiating table after weakening them through a surge in troops and aggressive offensives in areas under their control.

It is not clear whether this strategy will succeed, the editorial points out.

What is clear, however, is that all parties involved in have changed their attitudes towards the Taliban, it says.

Even before the US announced the surge in troops, the Karzai government opened negotiations with the Taliban through Saudi mediation and offered them incentives on the condition that they renounce militancy, cut off ties with al Qaeda and accept the Afghan constitution.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to reinsert itself in the scheme of things, Pakistan started arresting top Taliban leaders who were going to play a major role in the Afghan Govt.-Taliban negotiation, it adds.

Former UN envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, had said that the arrest of these leaders has "halted" the secret talks being led by the Afghan government through the UN.

"Given the critical situation, this jockeying for influence in Afghanistan is very dangerous for the entire region. Therefore, it is imperative for all parties involved to step back, take a deep breath, and come to a semblance of sanity for the sake of peace in Afghanistan and the entire region," the editorial concludes. (ANI)

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