A series of attacks by the Taliban have left at least 71 dead in the Paktia and Ghazni provinces of Afghanistan. Of them, up to 41 people have died in a suicide bombing and gun battle, which injured 150 others, at a police training centre in Gardez, Paktia’s provincial capital.

To say that these attacks seriously hamper the peace process in place is an understatement. While all the countries involved in the meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) in Muscat claimed the meeting as a success, any goodwill pertained from it is completely undone by these attacks. The failure of the QCG to bring the Taliban to the table for the meeting is reflected in these senseless attacks.

It should be noted though that the peace process had always been tentative. Attempts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table had already broken down in 2016 after the death of the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. The fate of the QCG is inevitably tied to effective cooperation in Afghanistan and the recent peace talks, as well Kabul unilaterally putting off trade meetings with Pakistan, showed that it was in an untrusting and hesitant mood.

With these attacks, Afghanistan is likely to be even more reluctant to broker peace with the Taliban. To make matters worse, the attacks took place in Paktia, which borders North Waziristan of Pakistan. These attacks will only serve to demonize Pakistan further, as US has already stated will enlist Indian help in Afghanistan and to keep an eye on Pakistan.

These attacks spell a fundamental flaw in the QCG talks: that the Taliban right now feel to be in a powerful position. The QCG countries need to bring the Taliban in a weaker position to negotiate. The group needs to be putt under military pressure first, it seems and all regional countries and the US need to play their part.