Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Kabul’s ‘an Eye for an Eye’ Policy Will Work out Effective

The Taliban’s intensified attacks within the last few days seem to be a backlash against the attacks carried out by the Kabul government. The Taliban militants have sustained heavy casualties following the second round of talks held between the Taliban and Afghan political figures as the Taliban continued their refusal to hold direct talks with Kabul representatives.
Although President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has declared to release some 900 Taliban militants jailed in Afghanistan as a gesture of public goodwill saying that Afghan representatives in Loya Jirga urged his administration to do so, the conflict between warring parties continues unabated. Afghan soldiers have inflicted heavy casualties on the Taliban fighters in various provinces. It is likely that the Afghan government seeks to pressure the Taliban through military deal to push them to the negotiating table. Being marginalized in the peace talks, the Kabul government is adopting “an eye for an eye” policy towards the Taliban.
I remember vividly that in the last decade, whenever the Taliban fighters had been weakened in the battlefields, they signaled for talks, which would have been a war strategy that could mitigate attacks against them, but never came to the table with genuine intention. The Taliban fear their fighters will be demoralized if attacks against them are intensified. Therefore, they target civilians, including women and children, to pressure the government and boost the morale of their fighters this way. But it is believed that an eye for an eye policy would be the right choice to demoralize their fighters and push them to the table with the Kabul government.
However, releasing the Taliban prisoners jailed in Afghanistan is unlikely to mitigate violence and bloodshed in the country. This policy, during Hamid Karzai administration, was proved abortive as the released prisoners returned to the battleground and resumed their insurgency against the government.
Ghani’s one-sided positive response to Loya Jirga – which was boycotted by the Taliban and Afghan opposition leaders – will backfire. On the one hand, the war has been multiplied between the Taliban and the Kabul government, on the other hand, Ghani administration is preparing to release the Taliban militants. Releasing the militant prisoners in a critical situation, as the Taliban are holding out against talks with the Afghan government or declaring truce, will not lead to peace. Thus, it has drawn wide criticism from the public.
Although both the Afghan government and the Taliban believe in military stalemate, the Taliban still continue their insurgency.
The first Bonn Conference, held following the downfall of the Taliban’s regime without their representatives, for the establishment of interim government is believed to stoke the Taliban’s anger. The Taliban, marginalize the Afghan government in the Doha talks, may be seeking a similar meeting to show that their regime had been right and, therefore, re-established. In other words, the Taliban are trying to justify their years of war, carried out under the term of “jihad”, through seeking such a meeting.
Afghans believe that the peace stalemate would be brokered if the Taliban held talks with the Afghan representatives, tribal elders, and influential individuals. For instance, Loya Jirga could provide a platform for the Taliban to have their say directly with Afghan nation. They could clearly speak their mind and list their demands in the Loya Jirga and vowed to remain committed. But the Taliban stood against the Loya Jirga, which showed their lukewarm response to peace and stability.
The Taliban have constantly turned a deaf ear to the demands of Afghan nation. They turned down the public demands for talks and ceasefire. They have also constantly refused the demand of peace marchers, who are urging warring parties to stop war.
The Taliban must not make the peace process too complicated. They have to act wisely and stop the conflict since it will only lead to casualties and destruction. Why should a party continue war if it only results in horrible consequences and has no winner? As the Taliban are aware that Afghans are highly frustrated with their acts of violence and terror, they should no more continue their insurgency.
The Taliban have to use the current opportunity for supporting peace to avoid the public rage and do not miss this chance. It is clear that if they continue the war for one decade more, they will not win. Hence, they had better stop the conflict and be integrated into the government’s body. The government has no chance other than continuing an eye for an eye policy unless the Taliban signal for talks and ceasefire.