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

A Message of Hope: US Seeks Comprehensive Peace, Not Troop Withdrawal

Zalmay Khalilzad was selected as the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan to put an end to its longstanding campaign against the Taliban. At the beginning of the talks most of Afghan citizens, especially the minority groups thought that the US may leave them alone as they were left alone in 1990s. Thus, many observers had no clear picture of the talks and what will happen once a deal is made between the US and Taliban. Afghan government, civil society organizations, most of the neighboring countries and regional powers called the US to be very cautious of the talks and avoid a hasty withdrawal from the country. All these concerns had a legitimate base; it could lead to a new civil war in the country and could change Afghanistan to the safe haven of the terrorist groups.
At the same time, Taliban have deliberately tried to exaggerate in terms of the talks and give wrong information to the people for their own favor to further confuse them. They used the same strategy at the verge of new round of the talks with the US Special Envoy and said that the timetable of the troop withdrawal has been finalized.
How to foil Taliban’s propaganda
It seems that Taliban want to use the peace talk opportunity to expand their legitimacy in Afghanistan and at the regional and international level. At the same time, they continue their harsh interpretations from Islam and oppressing in terms of the talks to disappoint the people from the Afghan government and international community and to weaken the morale of the Afghan defense and security the people in the areas under their control. As the formal negotiation process is about to enter almost its second year between the Taliban and the United States but so far there has been no substantial breakthrough other than the assurance given by the Taliban that Afghanistan’s territory will not be allowed to be used against the U.S. They have categorically denied giving any legitimacy to the Afghan government despite U.S’ constant insistence. It seems to be deadlock about the post-withdrawal political environment of Afghanistan. Therefore, the United States of America shall strongly maintained that the purpose of ongoing negotiations with the Taliban is to find a sustainable way for peace to prevail in the country and not entirely withdraw the U.S troops and must abide by it. Fortunately, the US envoy has stated recently that the US seeks a comprehensive peace agreement, NOT a withdrawal agreement. As a result, this new development lays a foundation for the next round of the US talks with the Taliban.
Afghan peace talk has entered to a new crucial phase; during this phase may the US finalize the external aspects of the peace deal and then will focus on commencing Intra-Afghan talks and a comprehensive peace deal. What matters here is the identification of a mechanism that Afghanistan will not be taken once more by the Taliban to be changed to the safe haven of the terrorist groups. The stance of the US that clearly says that the US is looking for a comprehensive peace in Afghanistan, not withdrawing its troop from the country, is very good news for the Afghans in general and for the minority groups in specific.