The Taliban, even though according to some recent reports are faring badly in Afghanistan, have issued a statement from Kandahar that they would come to the negotiating table only after their demands are met.Now that they have a diplomatic prop in their Doha office, in fact a majestic one, built by the common assent of Kabul and the government of Qatar, overnight they seem to have gone under the illusion that the existence of the office suggests they are on a winning streak. But regardless of this invincibility myth that they are basking in, they are pragmatic enough to welcome the peace initiative in Qatar. The demands include release of certain militant leaders, something that is fraught with hindrances. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar is fulsome in his praise of the possibility of a negotiated settlement over the premise that this would pave the way for peace. He is right and so is US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson who is also striking the right note by saying that Pakistan shall figure in the reconciliation process. Afghanistan now needs peace. Fighting amongst themselves for eons, the Afghans now have the chance to make a new beginning or revert to square one, where evils of all sorts germinate. The Qatar office and the aim it has set itself could mean wooing Mullah Omer, the supreme commander, but how the entire process is pursued requires reflection. At least, this time around, if he is brought back into the fold, he should be told through the Qatar office that any role in future Afghanistan hinges on how strongly he renounces violence. Harbouring terror and those with the intent to kill should come to an end.Outfits purely engaged in spilling blood for the sake of it, hardcore terrorists like Mullah Fazlullah currently on the loose in the southern Afghanistan, would also try to fall into the emerging political jigsaw but must be denied the space. Not only it is in Pakistan’s interest that they are brought to hard-handed justice, but the world and Afghanistan itself. The Qatar office as well as the Karzai regime should avoid them like the plague.