Will the Pause in South Asian Conflicts Last?

    Arif Rafiq

    Security, Asia

    An artificial flower is seen on a turban of a peace marcher as he arrives in Kabul, Afghanistan June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

    Washington should remain vigilant in managing risk and preventing crises in South Asia.

    On June 14, an American drone appears to have finally taken out Mullah Fazlullah, the Pakistani Taliban leader who ordered the attack on Malala Yousafzai and the massacre of Pakistani students at a school in Peshawar. Fazlullah had been based in Afghanistan for roughly the past nine years. He was sheltered and funded by the Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security.

    The next day, the Afghan Taliban’s ceasefire—made possible in part by Islamabad—came into effect, overlapping with the unilateral ceasefire announced earlier by the Kabul government. The scenes were nothing short of stunning. Tens of thousands of Afghan Taliban fighters who had massed near many of the country’s urban centers entered provincial capitals peacefully to perform the Eid prayer with government officials and security personnel. Beleaguered Afghans thirsting for an end to the war were able to taste but for a moment what an eventual peace between Kabul and the Taliban could look like.

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