He who rules Kabul rules Afghanistan. Or so the old adage went. However, if there is one thing the last 12 years of the Afghan conflict has shown, it is that no king, or modern-day president, can take this for granted any more. Neither US efforts in Doha nor President Hamid Karzai’s desire to give the Taliban a place at the high table can fix this.
Yet, still guided by the old logic that only Pakhtoons can rule from Kabul, Taliban insurgents—also Pakhtoon—are sought to be brought into a power-sharing arrangement. Whether even that can bring stability to Afghanistan remains in doubt. The opposition parties are quite adamant that there should be no powersharing with the Taliban without their going through the electoral process.