It appears that the US diplomat and the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, not unlike a certain legendary musician of his country, is a dreamer. According to the special envoy, he envisions that the Afghan war will finally come to an end this year. He urged all Afghans, including the Taliban, to work on a roadmap to end the Afghan war this year and engage in intra-Afghan dialogue.

The timing of Khalilzad’s tweets calling for negotiation is very revealing. The statement is a response to the deadly spring offensive announced by the Taliban today. In a move that threatens to completely undo all the weeks of goodwill that may have been built between all the factions in the plans for dialogue, the Taliban launched a deadly attack in Afghanistan’s northern city of Kunduz, killing six and wounding fifty people.

It is puzzling and unfortunate why the Taliban would opt to launch an offensive at a time when nearly all sides, except the Afghan government, were willing to sit on the dialogue table. The move appears to be geared to put pressure on Karzai’s weakening government, which has been the main obstacle towards peace talks being held between the United States and Taliban in Pakistan. It seems that the US idea of holding a Moscow-inspired dialogue between many regional factions failed to placate the Afghan government, and the Taliban attack is a response to that.

What is interesting is that while Khalilzad condemned the attack, his call for all Afghan parties to engage in dialogue smartly refrains from taking any sides. Perhaps this is the last dying sigh of any power or trump card that the Afghan government might have had. Whether this is a noble strategy or not, we can only hope that there won’t be any more senseless violence.