The present impasse between the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his chief political rival Abdullah Abdullah over the presidency has provided a perfect opportunity for the Taliban to reject talks with the Afghan government. Many experts doubted from the very beginning that the Taliban would ever engage in any intra-Afghan negotiations seriously. But the disunity among the Afghan politicians serves a perfect veil for the Taliban to not hold talks with the Afghan stakeholders. And now that they have ruled out negotiations with the Afghan government’s new negotiating team under the pretext that it was not representing all parties, few can blame the Afghan Taliban.

Meanwhile, Abdullah Abdullah must realise that erecting a parallel government to that of Ashraf Ghani is doing no good to Afghanistan and its people. At such a critical moment, when the politicians need to be united in having negotiations with the Taliban, his opposition to Ghani’s government will weaken all. Such a fractured political environment will only give more leeway to impose their terms on Afghan society. President Ghani must also go the extra mile to accommodate Abdullah Abdullah for the greater good of Afghanistan. A unified political front during the negotiations will help in securing foundations for lasting peace.

On their part, the Afghan Taliban need not exploit the political mayhem in the country. Any attempt to exploit political instability can backfire. The Taliban witnessed this before when the United States’ President Donald Trump had called off the negotiations with them. The US can set aside the recently negotiated peace deal. The Trump Administration has a history of setting aside agreements with countries. But the people of Afghanistan cannot afford that. If the Afghan Taliban and Afghan politicians are serious in talking the foreign troops out of their country, they need to sit together to chalk out a way forward for sustainable peace in the war-ravaged country.