As the war against terror enters its 17th year, Pakistan has once again tried to revamp the peace process by trying to start quadrilateral talks with the Taliban. Where the world’s best war technology and violence has only resulted in an Afghanistan in shambles and a war with no end in sight - another attempt at peace talks is a beneficial move for all parties involved.

Pakistan has asked the group members, which include United States (US), Afghanistan and China to meet in Muscat, Oman, on Oct 16 to hold peace talks with the Taliban. Pakistan is said to be playing a leading role in this quadrilateral session, aimed at bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table.

This may seem like a futile move to some, seeing how peace talks have broken down in the past. The failure of the previous talks was a result of weak diplomatic policy. First the Taliban refused to join it unless given the same status as the Afghan government, a move which risked Afghan-Pak relations. Talks completely broke down due to a leak which revealed that Taliban leader, Mullah Omar had been killed in 2013, causing Pakistan to lose the upper hand.

A lot has changed since that. Ashraf Ghani’s administration, newly elected and full of initiative back then, has been battered and buffeted by the Taliban offensive. Similarly Pakistan’s government is struggling with domestic opposition. China has become an economic stakeholder in the region, and crucially, the US has resumed military operations.

Beyond these changes, there are some huge impediments to peace talks. The Taliban are not a single entity; they are an ideology and throughout the years, this ideology has spread and broken into many conflicted fragmented groups. Even if the Taliban Shura has given any indication for peace talks to resume, it would be difficult for them to develop a consensus among their rank and file. The surge in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan is also seen as an attempt by anti-talks Taliban commanders to increase pressure on Kabul to such a level that the government itself declines to initiate talks.

A further risk is the US’s half-heartedness and temperamental policy. Statements by the US State Department show that it is not convinced on the effectiveness of these talks. Maybe it is time to admit that nobody is convinced on its effectiveness- but after 17 years of violence-what else can we do?