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Pakistan’s bold step needed to restore peace in Afghanistan

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Pakistan’s bold step needed to restore peace in Afghanistan
 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday presented the organization’s annual report in Brussels and said the National Unity Government’s (NUG) peace offer is the clearest invitation to the Taliban and that they should make use of the opportunity. 
Stoltenberg said Taliban cannot win on the battlefields and that accepting the NUG peace offer is the best option to end the Afghan war. 
“I commend President Ashraf Ghani for his courageous leadership. His offer to the Taliban is the clearest invitation to peace yet. So, I call on the Taliban to come to the negotiating table.
There is an opportunity - now - to end the conflict. And build a more secure and prosperous Afghanistan. An opportunity that must be seized,” Stoltenberg said. 
Meanwhile, the Trump administration on Friday warned of taking actions on its own to safeguard its personnel in Afghanistan, accusing Pakistan of failing to take decisive steps against terrorist groups.
“Six months after the announcement of the South Asia Policy by President Donald Trump, Pakistan has failed to take the kind of decisive actions that the US is seeking,” a senior US administration official told a group of reporters.
“We are still seeking actions from Pakistan that we have not seen. We are continuing to look for real actions and not word on the Taliban and the Haqqani sanctuaries,” the official said, adding”It’s Pakistan choice in which direction it wants to take the future of the relationship.
Indeed,announcement of the peace initiative was preceded by months of national consensus building in Afghanistan. Members of the High Peace Council, the inclusive body of Afghan elders formed to steer efforts for peace and dialogue; the government’s chief executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah; and President Ghani had long deliberations and consultations with Afghan political figures, members of civil society, clergy, women and youth. They found overwhelming support for the initiative to reach a political settlement with the Taliban.
To strengthen the nascent democracy and uphold the rights and liberty of the nation, Afghan officials sought peace with strong determination and made sacrifices to bring warring factions to the negotiating table. 
Although talks with the Taliban came to a standstill and Afghan-Pak relations hit rock bottom, Afghan officials still hope that Pakistan will nudge the Taliban to come to peace table. It will be highly constructive for Islamabad to help Afghan peace process and eliminate terrorists’ safe havens.
President Ghani in a meeting with Pakistani National Security Adviser in Kabul here yesterday emphasized on starting of the state to state negotiations to tackle the issues of financial crime and activities of the terrorists.
Pakistan’s honest cooperation in war on terror is a must. The country has long been in close relation with Taliban and has spared no effort to support the group and its ideology of war in Afghanistan.Since the neighboring country itself has witnessed the barbaric act of terrorists, it is important that the two countries carry out dialogues on how to tackle the differences and join hand for peace in the region.
As trans-boundary projects, in particular TAPI and CASA 1000 are being implemented for the relief and stability of the region, Pakistan is required to give up support of the terrorist outfit and target their safe sanctuaries.
Meanwhile to win the war on terror, the US administration, its allies, along with Afghan government, seek to reinforce attacks against the Taliban and their hideouts and increase pressures on Pakistan to take decisive actions against terrorists. Sanctions, political pressures and military actionsare considered the last resort to reduce insurgency in the country.