The Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has finalized a 21-member team — including five women — who will negotiate with the Taliban in upcoming talks aimed at ending Afghanistan’s 18-year-old conflict. Former National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief, Massoum Stanekzay would lead the negotiating team that includes 14 men, including the offspring of the two key warlords, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, former first-vice president and Ata Mohammad Noor, former Balkh Governor, and five women. The US, NATO, and EU welcomed the Afghan government’s negotiating team and hailed the inclusiveness of it, but the Taliban in a statement declined on Saturday to begin talks with the government’s new negotiating team in a setback to the US-brokered peace process for one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. The militants saying that could not talk to the 21-member team named on Thursday as it was not constituted taking into account all parties. This is not the first time that the Taliban militants turning down the Afghan government’s offer for the peace talks. The group has denied to meet the Afghan government delegations in the pasts too, bringing different reasons for their talks and peace process in the war-torn country. The peace negotiation has been a highly controversial issue within the last decade. Afghanistan and its allies have invariably urged the Taliban outfit to stop violence and bloodshed, which will benefit no parties. However, violence continued and took immense casualties in thousands of lives. The protracted war lingered with a lull and surge. Despite the fact that the Taliban played a foul game in the past and carried out large-scale attacks, Afghan government still leaves the door to negotiation open. The Taliban are most unlikely to reduce insurgency and join peace process, which will be a pyrrhic victory for Afghanistan. The group has time and again said that are ready for talks and peace in the country, but they have never showed their sincere will for the stability in the country. Taliban’s militancy has already provided the opportunity for other terrorist networks to carry out attacks and kill the innocent Afghan masses. Both national and international stakeholders including Afghan people and religious scholars called Taliban, for ceasefire, to pave the way for intra-Afghan talks and lasting peace in the country. Despite of the repeated appeals, Taliban resumed fighting with the Afghan forces, in different provinces in recent weeks.The inclusiveness of the Afghan government’s peace negotiation team doesn’t relate to Taliban to comment about, but they should see it as an opportunity for starting of the intra-Afghan talks. Afghan people are extremely tired and wish for a permanent solution to end the hatreds and start love and friendship. On the other hand, if the righteous demand of people continued to be ignored by the militant group, one day, they themselves will proceed to put an end to the endless play but that would be too costly for Taliban and their backers.