Taliban were determined to host a show of dance macabre before tomorrow’s elections. And they did it. With taking down the life of police chief of Kandahar, General Abdul Raziq, Taliban achieved a significant victory. Afghan government and America lost a stalwart against militants in southern Afghanistan.

The killing of General Raziq will, indeed, determine the voters’ turnout in tomorrow’s elections. The electoral process has already been undermined because of the security issues. Taliban have targeted, at least, ten candidates along with their supporters to disrupt the electoral process in the war-torn country. With the attack, the Afghan government will turn its gaze to Kandahar at a time when the whole country needs foolproof security.

Nevertheless, the reverberations of the Kandahar attack will go far beyond the elections. General Raziq’s death will give an upper hand to the Taliban in their negotiations with the United States (US). Raziq was believed to have been crucial to making sure the stalemate in the battlefield did not tilt in Taliban’s favour before a politically negotiated settlement.

Although Raziq in his later years became somewhat soft on Taliban, he still thought of Taliban as a group whose reins were in the hands of Islamabad. But his death may also pose challenges to Islamabad. With him being removed from the office, Taliban will become more confident, reckless, and out of control. Taliban will be less dependent on Pakistan for creating favourable circumstances for talks with the US.

Pakistan understands it well than anyone else that the only solution to end the violence in Afghanistan is to chalk out a plan for the inclusion of all stakeholders in the future government of Afghanistan. Islamabad has already maintained to do its best to make a negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict. Pakistan needs to convince the Taliban to show some flexibility in their attitude to make any peace deal successful. Attacks ahead of any possibility of peace talks are for sure harming the position of Taliban.