Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, September 28th, 2020

Two Withdrawals: Lessons Learned and the Way Forward

These days, it is common to hear that the United States and the Taliban have agreed to a temporary truce that, if successful, would open the way for a deal that would bring American troops home from Afghanistan and end 18 years of war.
What’s in Peace Deal?
Based on the peace deal both sides of the conflict shall start negotiations next month, there would be an eventual countrywide cease-fire and Taliban will be committed that they would not harbor terrorist groups like al Qaida and finally ta timetable would be sit for the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Will the Truce End the Afghan Conflict?
The truce mark may a milestone in efforts to end America’s longest-running conflict and fulfill President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to bring U.S. troops home from foreign conflicts. However, there is no clear Mechanism for a real and lasting peace in Afghanistan.
Looking Back to the Soviet Union Withdrawal and Pledges
When we read about the Peace negotiations between the US and Taliban, we remember the Time that The Soviet Union pursued peace talks with the US and Afghan Mujahidin guided by Pakistan. During the talks they discussed  withdrawal from disastrous military invasion of Afghanistan, a model of cooperation with the United States for resolving regional conflicts, an independent Afghanistan, process of national reconciliation, free elections under U.N. monitoring and formation of a secular and moderate government.
What Happened After the Soviet Union Withdrawal?
However, eventually the Soviets accepted the fact that the Reagan administration would continue to arm the more radical factions of the Mujahedin through Pakistan, even in violation of the Geneva agreements. Gorbachev was hoping that progress toward a political settlement could be made by working together with the United States after the signing of the Geneva agreements, thus creating a precedent and further cementing U.S.-Soviet global cooperation.
In fact both the Soviet Union and the United States left Afghans alone.  According to the declassified documents from the U.S. Department of State, In the end, both in the 1988 Geneva Accords and negotiations with the Bush administration in 1989 and 1990, the sides agreed to disagree, papering over the gaps in their positions, much to the disappointment of Gorbachev and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. The latter finally erupted during talks with U.S. Secretary of State James Baker in 1990 that said the U.S.-sponsored Mujahedin were not interested in free elections, just power; and Baker did not disagree. And As Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin has summed up in his memoirs, “Gorbachev’s strategic aim and hope was that Afghanistan would be neutral and that the United States would play a useful role together with them in the future settlement. Finally, that turned out to be an illusion.
Illusion as the Fate of Afghan Peace Deals
Considering the multi dimensions of conflict in Afghanistan, the peace deal that the US is pursuing may address the grievances of Taliban and the strategic interests of Pakistan. What remains untapped is the role of India in the peace talks. At the same time keeping sidelined China, Russia and Iran is one of the factors that makes the US-Taliban deal may have the same fate that the Geneva Accords had.
What is Common between the two withdrawals is the issue of putting an end to an invasion that the two powers did not think would last for years. Pakistan has played the main role either directly or indirectly in these processes. During the US and Taliban talks, any time when it was necessary that Taliban shall have made a critical decision, they asked for the postponement of the talks in order to go to Pakistan to consult with their leaders in Quetta, or other cities of Pakistan. However, it was crystal clear that they went to Pakistan to have the latest commands from the ISI and Pakistani officials.
The sad point is that in both cases the Afghans have neither been meaningfully included in the process and nor have been the main decision makers. However, any challenge has an opportunity within it; the opportunity of the current peace talks our democratic achievements are at stake. As a result, as we are forced to make a choice between the current democratic system and Emarat, we shall show the world we have already made our decision and will not compromise our achievements. To this end, all Afghan citizens, political leaders, civil society organizations must stand together and negotiate as one team with the Taliban and do not surrender to what they are dictated to achieve in the peace talks. The last but not the least, in order to reach a relatively ideal peace deal, no side shall look for to defeat the other side, but shall peruse a win-win strategy.