The much-awaited withdrawal of the United States (US) forces began yesterday. Another good news is the promise of Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani that the government will start releasing at least 1000 Afghan Taliban imprisoned in different jails. Hopefully, these two developments on the soil of Afghanistan will prove instrumental in bringing all Afghan factions, including the Afghan Taliban, to start the intra-Afghan dialogue process as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, it will be miscalculations to see the latest positive developments as hopeful signs of dawn a new era on Afghanistan. Ghani and his chief political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, each one of them declaring himself as the legitimate president of the country exposes the hurdles that will make the intra-Afghan dialogue process very complicated. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying that the US opposes the creation of a “parallel” government will not be enough to avoid the political fallout.

Perhaps, the international stakeholders should have played a more constructive role in meeting out the differences between the two political rivals. Given the split among the political leadership of the country, the Afghan Taliban will take full advantage of the current rift. It will be really easy for the insurgent group to deal with each one of them separately. There is only one option before the two politicians: nothing other than joining hands together will strengthen each one of them.

It is yet to be seen if the two leaders keep their narrow interests before those of Afghanistan. The political scenario that has unfolded so far tells us that each one is after personal gains. None of the two is thinking about the people of the country who deserve a sigh of relief after an 18-years-long devastating war. Hence, the fears of a civil war loom large today considering the inability of the two mainstream Afghan leaders to find a power-sharing formula.