Following the air strikes by Taliban bases in the Helmand province of Afghanistan by the US military, the question has been raised whether the peace agreement between the US and the Taliban has fallen? On 29 February, the two sides signed a draft in Qatar’s capital, Doha, which was considered historic. But after the latest air strikes, the future of this agreement is being questioned. Is this agreement really moving towards its end?
Actually, the whole picture of the peace deal is not clear yet. The Taliban say that according to the conditions, the Afghan government will have to release 5,000 of its fighters before March 10, while Afghanistan believes that fulfilling this promise is the jurisdiction of the Afghan government, so starting from March 10 ‘ This should be discussed in the Inter-Afghanistan Dialogue. The release of its fighters has been the main issue of Taliban negotiations. So, before the ‘Inter-Afghanistan Dialogue’, the main demand of the Taliban is accepted, then it is possible that the Taliban will start doing it again. In such a situation, Afghanistan and America will remain empty handed.
The new government is likely to take oath on 9 March in Afghanistan, so newly elected President Ashraf Ghani called the release of the Taliban fighters a decision to be taken by the government and raised his hand before the ‘inter-Afghanistan dialogue’. As a result, the Taliban are seeking to pressurize the new government by attacking the Afghan army. They say that under the agreement, they will not target only foreign troops. But the US is committed to the government of Afghanistan, so it has taken action against the Taliban against the attack on the Afghan army.
The irony with Afghanistan is that a new chapter opens there every day. When it all ends, it cannot be said. The peace talks were also looking for their results for the past several months. In September, US President Donald Trump canceled a confidential meeting of Camp David on the occasion of the Taliban attack on his army.
However, the next month, the conversation returned to track, and it was signed on the last day of February. US peacemaker Jalame Khalilzad called the agreement an “confidence-building initiative”. It was also clarified that up to 5,000 Taliban fighters would be released. The difficulty is that the Taliban consider this number to be the minimum. Khalilzad is in Kabul these days. He has spoken of keeping the promise of ‘peace talks’ as possible, but he has also cited the American promise to the Afghan government.
Apparently, all parties who allegedly claimed ‘stable Afghanistan’ are doing their own politics in it. While the Taliban are trying to release their fighters by putting pressure on the Afghan government, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is constantly trying to prove the importance of his country by making rhetorical statements. The US is also aiming to prove to the world that it has made a special effort for peace in Afghanistan. As such, it is possible that some Taliban fighters may be released symbolically in the next few days, so that an atmosphere of trust remains.
Here the question is also of India’s interest. New Delhi is moving forward on a better strategy regarding Afghanistan. We clearly believe that meeting the terms of the negotiations is a mutual issue between Afghanistan and the Taliban, and we will not interfere in that. Under this strategy we can also agree on the results of ‘Inter-Afghanistan Dialogue’. But the path of this dialogue does not look so easy, because the domestic politics of Afghanistan has its own setbacks. There both the process of peace talks and the presidential election are seen as hostile to each other. Ironically, every election there is more or less contested. The Election Commission has not been able to mature there. Its tendency is more towards the party in power. As a result, there has been a demand to form a parallel government there.
In such a situation, it is currently not possible to describe the peace deal as successful or failed. The Taliban is trying to persuade their demands first. The US has also, of course, set a deadline for repatriation of its troops and has given assurance of lifting the ban from the United Nations, but all these promises have been made conditional. That is, the Taliban will move forward on peace talks, only then America will support it. It is not as if the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has started. All the conditions have been agreed only now, both sides will meet it equally, only then this agreement will be successful and the withdrawal of American troops will be possible.
As of now, the Taliban have carried out 76 attacks in the last three days to put pressure on the Afghan government. Some children have also died in these attacks. Since most of the attacks did not cause loss of life or property, the international media did not notice them. All this is happening when all sides, including the government sitting in Kabul, are advocates of peace, the Taliban themselves are also advocating peace and America seems determined on the return of its army.
Clearly, the dream of ‘stable Afghanistan’ is currently far away. The peace deal is only the first step in this direction. All rules and regulations will be decided now. Then the agenda of inter-Afghanistan dialogue will be decided. This is all part of a long process. Therefore, it is not yet possible to predict the success or failure of the peace agreement.