As the government of Ashraf Ghani has recalled its ambassador to Pakistan over a suggestion that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan made, it is important to look whether the Afghan reaction is justified. Before jumping to a conclusion and calling Imran Khan’s remarks as Islamabad’s interventional policy, it is essential to recognise that Pakistan is one of the important party to the on-going peace talks. So if a suggestion comes from Pakistan to break the stalemate, what is the harm in it? Kabul could have reacted to Khan’s proposal in a more dignified manner. But as it is evident from Kabul’s past practice, the Afghan government will always try to make Pakistan scapegoat for its failures. The recent move of the Afghan government to call its ambassador back from Pakistan may not prove healthy for the Afghan peace process.

Quite often the process of introspection proves extremely difficult and countries, like individuals, refuse to undergo the painstaking ordeal of solipsism. Afghanistan is one of its primary examples. Why can the stalemate not be broken in the Afghan peace process? Are Khan’s remarks contributing to the perpetuation of this stalemate or is it the reluctance of the Ghani’s government that is proving detrimental to the peace process? Any objective analysis will take any prudent and unbiased person to the conclusion that the latter’s unreasonable attitude is the cause of deadlock that the peace negotiation between the US and Taliban is facing.

Pakistan cannot be blamed for the mishaps that Afghanistan has experienced so far. Islamabad has on many occasions taken steps to win the hearts and minds of both the Afghan government and people. The recent cancellation of a meeting between Imran and Taliban representative is one such step. Had Pakistan been keen on intervening in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, it would have conducted the meeting that was supposed to take place. Pakistan wants a constructive role in the whole process. Therefore, as soon as Ghani’s government objected to the possibility of the meeting, Pakistan responded positively.

While Zalmay Khalilzad has already begun a fresh tour to Islamabad and Kabul for a new round of talks with the Taliban, it is vital for Afghanistan and Pakistan to re-engage and solve the recent row in their ties. The strains between the two sides will automatically affect the new round of the peace negotiations that Afghan society is in dire need of. At the same time, the Pakistan government must show extreme care not to exacerbate the divide as the time is crucial for the development in the negotiations between the United States and Taliban.