| ||Afghan reconciliation still seen uphill task|
By Abdul Haleem
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KABUL - Amid the ongoing national and international efforts to bring Taliban militants to negotiating table, Afghan observers show pessimism on the outlook of the government-initiated national reconciliation.
"No talks with Taliban will yield the desired outcome, it makes no difference whether the talks are held in Qatar, Paris, Japan or anywhere in the world," Afghan political analyst Faizullah Jalal told Xinhua on Wednesday.
He made this comment in the wake of reported negotiations between Afghan warring sides in Japan.
President Hamid Karzai during his stay in Tokyo revealed at a press conference that recently representatives of Taliban namely Qari Din Mohammad, of another militant group Hizb-e-Islami or the Islamic Party and of the government-backed High Council for Peace held meeting at Doshisha University in Kyoto city of Japan.
On Sunday, Karzai attended an international conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo where the world community pledged 16 billion U.S. dollars for the next four years to the militancy-plagued central Asian state.
The Afghan president at the press conference also said that Taliban representative Qari Din Mohammad expressed readiness to initiate peace talks with his government.
However, the Taliban in a sharp reaction rejected any talks with the government of Afghanistan as baseless.
In a statement posted Monday on the outfit's website, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid utterly rebuffed any talks in Japan with the government, saying "there was a research conference at Doshisha University on June 27 where the delegation of Islamic Emirate (name of ousted Taliban regime) presented its viewpoints."
The Taliban statement also stated that the "delegation of the Islamic Emirate did not hold any talks with the delegation of Karzai administration and any report in this regard is baseless."
Jalal, also a professor at Kabul University, was of the view that the Taliban like in the past would not negotiate with the government.
Taliban fighters who had staged a violent comeback in 2006, years after their 2001 collapse under U.S.-led military campaign, have repeatedly rejected any peace talks offered by the government.
The hardliner outfit has conditioned such talks with the withdrawal of NATO-led troops from Afghanistan, saying there will be no dialogue with the government in the presence of foreign troops, a condition unacceptable to both Afghan administration and the military alliance.
"Taliban's adamant stance has proved in the past they do not believe in peace talks and so no peace efforts would deliver in future," Professor Jalal said.
Taliban militants fighting the government and 130,000-strong- NATO-led forces with some 90,000 Americans have often vowed to continue Jihad or holy war till the pullout of the foreign troops from Afghanistan.
"Achieving peace through dialogue in Afghanistan is a challenging practice. The peace efforts have been practising by successive regimes since 1980s but all in vain," observed Karimullah, a 65-year-old Afghan citizen.
"According to my experiences from the past three decades of conflicts, peace efforts in Afghanistan resembles snail pace to climb the Hindu Kush summit," said the old man, referring to the regional mountain Hindu Kush with Tirich Mir as its peak some 7, 700 meters above sea level.