Conflict is always resolved by opening channels of communication between the all parties involved. Due to the different stances of the parties involved, the role of a third party becomes very crucial — because it may not only help in maintaining neutrality but also respect the interests of all actors. The 17-year-long war in Afghanistan is seemingly entering its final stages, where channels of communication are most important to neutralise unresolved agendas. US Senior Adviser Lisa Curtis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells recently visited South Asia to explore the possibility of resuming the Afghan-reconciliation process. The US and Afghan governments’ stance of an “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned” peace process has not helped the cause. Hence all the stumbling blocks need to be addressed before moving ahead. The Afghanistan security dilemma is responsible for instability, which is not only weakening Afghanistan internally and externally, but also upsetting regional countries like China, Iran, Russia, Central Asian states, and most importantly Pakistan. Hence, it is imperative for all regional powers to play a constructive role for peace and stability in Afghanistan. From Pakistan, Permanent Envoy to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Foreign Secretary, the Head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other senior military officials have played the role of mediator. Pakistan is not solely responsible for bringing Taliban to the negotiating table. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders in Afghanistan to come and sit together. The Iranian diplomat in Afghanistan wanted to act as a mediator between Taliban and the Afghan government. Iran’s Defence Minister, Amir Hatami, stated that his country would “provide Afghanistan with advisory and security assistance in its fight against terrorism”. Indonesia Ambassador to Kabul Dr Arif Rahman stressed the need for enhanced economic cooperation between Afghanistan and the Muslim world to achieve peace in the war-torn country. The dynamics of global and regional politics have changed from defence and security issues to trade and business opportunities. The strategic environment of South Asia has new opportunities on offer, including China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and One Belt One Road (OBOR). Hence all the issues should be resolved to avail new horizons with these economic projects. The new emerging drift of economic and regional integration will explore the markets for prosperity. Growing connectivity, economic development and military cooperation in the region will lead to peace, prosperity and security. The US has reviewed its policy towards Afghanistan and offered direct talks with the Afghan Taliban without any conditions. Up till now, progress is slow, but such incremental steps can have beneficial effects The recent cease-fire on Eid which lasted three-days is a positive sign for the peace process. The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, said in a statement that he hoped the ceasefires would “serve as a stepping stone” towards peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Unfortunately, Afghan Taliban are reluctant to talk with the Afghan government, resulting in a deadlock in the reconciliation process. Despite demands from the Afghan government, US and Pakistan, Taliban did not approve of extending the ceasefire. On June 17, Taliban declared that they would not extend a three-day ceasefire with Afghan security forces. Recently, cease-fire efforts have been again launched by President Ashraf Ghani. He said that we as a nation would use our own strength, strategies, determination and our national initiative for peace. The US has reviewed its policy towards Afghanistan and offered direct talks with the Afghan Taliban without any condition. Up till now, progress is slow, but such incremental steps can have beneficial effects. The untrusting behaviour that the Taliban are displaying toward the Afghan government cannot lead to a positive outcome. Both parties are insecure, and the vulnerability is creating a bigger vacuum for other militants to fill. The recent dangers arising from a build-up of the Islamic State on the Afghan territory are the outcome of this power vacuum. The writer is a freelance columnist Published in Daily Times, July 26th 2018.