Ronald Reagan once said, “Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle the conflict by peaceful means”. The Afghanistan peace process, in a similar manner, has failed to offer an olive branch to the Taliban. The Afghan Taliban’s recent assault on Ghazni city has added fuel to the fire to the Afghan conflict inside Afghanistan and US strategy circles. Most of the Afghanistan’s territory is either debated or under the control of the Taliban. However, it would be the first occasion when Taliban controlled one in the 17-year-old United States (US)-driven Afghan war. Given the nearness of Ghazni to Kabul and its association with the capital city to Kandahar in the south, the Afghan security forces, in a joint effort with US troops, may prevail in the end. Yet, the Taliban attacks have underlined the requirement for increased dialogue between all the warring factions in Afghanistan. In a conflict as arduous as that in Afghanistan, even whispers of peace can cause a hullabaloo. President Ashraf Ghani’s tranquility offer has done that recently. The contention in Afghanistan in the course of recent decades has been virulent to the point that any peace design gets caught in domestic and regional competitions. The general population of Afghanistan has had to suffer the horrors of war for almost four decades. In terms of development, conditions in Afghanistan are practically medieval. Furthermore, there is adequate proof that the Kabul government has failed to establish its writ. Legislative issues and power in Afghanistan are severely impacted by the nation’s ethnic complexities, which make the situation all the more difficult. Accordingly, the profound ethno-semantic divisions and the decentralised nature of the Afghan society give non-state actors and foreign hands fault-lines that can be easily exploited. In terms of development, conditions in Afghanistan are practically medieval. Furthermore, there is adequate proof that the Kabul government has failed to establish its writ. Legislative issues and power in Afghanistan are severely impacted by the nation’s ethnic complexities, which make the situation all the more difficult Additionally, there are scores of geopolitical complexities with grievous ramifications. It has been clear since 2001 that the presence of the American military only legitimises the actions of guerillas and Jihadists all over Afghanistan. This has put the various militant factions in stronger positions than the Afghan government. As such, Ghani’s request to the different groups required to consider giving peace a chance is unlikely to work. Then there is Afghanistan’s thriving illicit narcotics industry. It is estimated that around 29,000 tonnes of Opium is produced in Afghanistan annually. Profits from this trade allow the Taliban, warlords and criminals to continue their activities. Because of the large exchange of cash involved, various parties actually benefit from keeping the fighting going. It’s not like drugs are the Taliban’s only source of revenue either. They also collect protection money from Afghan telecom organisations and get financial assistance from state’s which are sympathetic to their cause. As far back as US President Donald Trump’s August 2017 declaration of “New Afghan Policy” — fixated on forcing Pakistan to make more serious move against terrorists — the US has vowed to put more military pressure on the Taliban to bring it to the negotiating table with the Kabul government. Inside this structure, the Trump administration reported the suspension of some $2 billion in help to Pakistan. The US administration propagates that the said aid will be suspended until Islamabad makes a definitive move against the Taliban and the Haqqani Network. Even after getting American military training, Afghan security forces have been unable to defeat the Taliban. Consequently, the Afghan government’s writ continues to be challenged in most of the country. Presently, the group controls more territory than it ever has since 2001. The war in Afghanistan is a multi-dimensional conflict that involves Afghan, territorial and worldwide actors. Because of its innate unpredictability, no single group or actor holds the key to ending the war. The fact remains that no side is going to win the war and the only alternative to continuing bloodshed and instability is to make way for the peace process. The writer is an Assistant Research Officer at Islamabad Policy Research Institute. He can be contacted at Adeelmukhtar.email@example.com Published in Daily Times, August 21st 2018.