Although we are yet to see a statement by Mullah Omar confirming he is not alive, the news of the Taliban emir’s death has delayed a second round of talks between the militant group and the government in Kabul. A likely peace in Afghanistan will have serious consequences for journalists like this scribe as much as common people. With nothing serious to report about, reporters always have the option of going back to the usual extortion and blackmailing, but what about the masses? Here is a list of the pros and cons of sitting across the Taliban on the negotiations table and playing footsie with bearded extremists.


- A possible ceasefire with the Taliban will open up political space for dissenting militant groups, ending the decade long Taliban monopoly that has stood in the way of independent local warlords and foreign investors like ISIS.

- The talks are unconditional, and allow violence in Afghanistan to continue. The dialogue will allow a platform to all the regional and international stakeholders to finally use that violence for leverage in a practical way to arm-twist rivals and friends into giving in to their demands.

- Rivals of the Taliban will be able to say, “They are animals, they do not listen to reason” to their faces.

- With many key Taliban leaders present at a single location for a rather long period of time in a building where civilians are not allowed, it will be easy to make drone strikes to eliminate them with minimum collateral damage.

- The framework of the talks so far allows the rival parties to go back to fighting at any point in time, without any serious consequences.

- After the talks fail, the rival sides will be able to fight with more conviction.

- The talks may provide a sense of closure for the families of those who have been arguing that Mullah Omar and Osama Ben Laden are still alive.

- Negotiations with the new leadership will unearth new Taliban leaders, creating new jobs for journalists and researches who will build their profiles and publish them in newspapers and on websites.

- If the Taliban are invited into the government, we will have one more oppressive regime in the world to bid for the Winter Olympics next year.


- Negotiators will be haunted by ghosts of those who died in terrorist attacks carried out by the Taliban.

- If violence in Afghanistan ends, regional stakeholders and foreign forces will lose their leveraging power. That may jeopardise the peace process.

- A source close to the negotiations told this scribe that light background music will not be allowed during the negotiations, and there are also expectations about what the guests will drink.

- The common people in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who would have otherwise died in terrorist attacks if the violence did not end, will have to suffer a long painful struggle against poverty, hunger and fear, and many will have to find other means to end their miserable lives.

- In case there is peace, or even a dramatic decrease in incidents of violence, the percentage of people in Pakistan dying from floods will increase exponentially, compared with the percentage of people who die in terrorism related incidents.

- If the problem in Afghanistan is resolved, family dinners will be awfully quiet affair, with fathers and sons having nothing to argue about. There will be no fights, analysts say, and nobody will throw away their plates and race back to their room saying they are not hungry, shutting the door with a loud bang.

- The talks may hurt the popularity of the Taliban, and their membership numbers may decline. That means young men who have nothing to do after leaving the organisation may be driven towards unhealthy activities.

- If the foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan, the stolen and smuggled American goods that arrive for them will not be available in markets in Peshawar at cheap and affordable prices.

- Wise men say that when one is old and about to die, it is not the wars one has fought that one regrets, it is the wars that one did not fight.