While confirming that the person killed in the US drone strike was indeed Mullah Mansour, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz lamented that “In less than a year, the peace process has been scuttled twice”. He has a point. Mullah Mansour had ramped up attacks in Afghanistan, but the establishment always believed that “their man” could be reasoned with – after all he did bring the militant group to the table.

The new commander has ruled out that possibility completely; in an audio message released in Pushto, circulated by Taliban commanders, Haibatullah stated the “Taliban will never bow their heads and will not agree to peace talks.” While we can wring our hands over this development to our heart’s content, the real question that the government has to answer is; what now?

Sartaj Aziz reiterated the belief that a negotiated peace is the ultimate solution, but considering the momentous failure of the Pakistan brokered talks isn’t it prudent to try different strategies – especially when the possibility to the Taliban even coming to the table is now remote.

The carrot has failed to entice the Taliban; it’s time for the stick. Pakistan went through the same process with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP); it tried to make peace, but the TTP’s unreasonable demands and terror attacks continued until the military was forced to launch an operation. It is time we learned that you can’t reason with fanatics. Especially when they are in a relative position of strength, like the Afghan Taliban are like right now.

If Mullah Haibatullah wants a war, it is time we give it to him. The Pakistani military should start uprooting every single safe haven for the Afghani Taliban that it can find, since the protection was contingent on their cooperation in the peace process. The government does not like to acknowledge this but Mullah Mansour wouldn’t have been able to use the Karachi airport 18 times if the state hadn’t looked the other way – this, along with all other concessions must end. Known operatives must be arrested, the rest hunted down.

Together the Pakistan and Afghan forces can squeeze the border region, and end the militant presence that only thrives because the other side of the border is and easy escape for both the TTP and the Taliban.

The results; a stable Afghanistan, a friendlier Afghanistan, and the continuation of Pakistan’s defense purchases from the US. There is no other alternative.