Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, October 18th, 2018

To Withdraw or not? It is the question

Donald Trump’s administration has asked the Afghan security forces to pull out from remote and low population areas. This issue was first reported by the New York Times. Political analysts hold that it is a part of the U.S new military strategy for Afghanistan. US officials say they have made this decision to decrease attacks on the checkpoints of the Afghan forces in the remote areas and it also helps the Afghan forces to more concentrate on the security of the big cities including Kabul. The New US strategy places a premium on protecting the population, especially in towns and cities where the Taliban has made inroads.
The new US strategy has created a series of debates among the Afghans and international sources. Human rights activists consider this strategy as a tool to give legitimacy to the Taliban. As a result they have expressed concern over the new strategy saying this may have serious consequences in the future as the Afghan government and its allies have declared legitimacy for Taliban group which is carrying out terroristic attacks in Afghanistan.
Some other military analysts say al-Qaida created a myth that it single-handedly pushed the Russians out of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and now, the terrorist groups like ISIS, Taliban, al-Qaeda HN and other ones may use the same tactic to capitalize on the Afghan security forces pullback from Afghanistan remote. Also the jihadists would use this approach as a rhetorical victory, as a recruiting tool to strengthen their own story, and they’re going to try to do that again.
However, there are conflicting arguments in terms of setting back from specific areas as part of a secret negotiation: Some scholars say that it rewards terrorist behavior, encourages them to continue their violent behavior that undermines democracy and peaceful ways that political actors purse to realize their goals. Many political scholars hold that an alternative like combat is preferred by governments because it does not need concessions, does not grant legitimacy, and is consistent with the governments’ strategies.
What makes negotiations a viable strategy is to ensure the other party’s capability of conducting negotiation agreements and to make concessions.  As pointed out, one way to relieve to negotiations and retain the ability to deny the other party, are back channel communications. Such acts not only give incentives to future talks, they will also create the required logistics before announcement of fully public negotiations. Political argue that secret talks help prevent political setback and shouting from hawkish politicians of a fully public negations. Secret talks is an approach for one side to gain knowledge of the other party and decide whether if the other is willing or able to negotiate at the concerned time.
What makes negotiation a must is the case that a group or groups have strong ethnic or religious supports, the group can be hidden, resupplied, provided moral justification and even the population may contribute to the active terrorist group members. Political analysts believe that in such case, curfews, checkpoints, harsh policing efforts and collateral damage leads to alienating the population away from the government.
As Afghan government is determined to reach to a sustainable peace with the Taliban group, it is necessary to the entire Afghans ad the Afghan government to push its peace policies cautiously. If withdrawing from certain parts of the country is part of the peace negotiation, such act should ensure the basic rights of the citizens, and as the Afghan government has said, the local militia or members of the public uprising shall replace the police and  national army forces. All the Afghan citizens support a peace deal that ensures the security and development in the country. However, no Afghan citizen will accept a peace deal with Taliban or any other insurgent group to compromise their basic rights and freedoms and this applies to the withdrawal from the remote areas as well.