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

Pessimism and optimism over the US-Taliban peace agreement

The peace agreement between the US and Taliban has created many fears and hopes in Afghanistan, especially among political community. The hopes and optimisms are rooted in tiredness of Afghan people who hear the voice of peace after the forty years of war and destruction, but the fear and concerns are related to contents of the peace agreement. In regard to the optimism, no matter how a true peace comes or who bring the peace, Afghan people welcomed it in the past and will welcome in the future, too. Afghan people have repeatedly showed their true will to have peaceful relation with the world countries. Therefore, all Afghan people, from the president to the rest of people have warmly welcomed the peace agreement between the Taliban and the US expressing hopes for successful and smooth implementation of the agreement. Similarly, many Afghan youths walked out on the streets dancing and drumming to welcome the move and showed their factual demand for peace and security during the violence reduction period.
Thus, Afghan people expressed optimism as the Taliban has newly pledged to disconnect its ties with terrorist groups, especially al-Qaeda, and even fight against extremists and terrorist groups. In fact, it is a big step for the Taliban to admit that al-Qaeda has been operating as a terrorist group in Afghanistan so far and that the Taliban will confront them in the future. If the Taliban join the government and people, other terrorist groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda have no ground in the country.   The Taliban have also pledged to start intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiate with the government about the future of Afghanistan. It is also a big step for Taliban to recognize the government and participate in construction of the country in the future. If all Afghan people jointly work to build the country, undoubtedly the result and outcome will also be different and better than what is today.
Despite these positive points, there are also some concerns which rooted in contents of the agreement.  Unfortunately, there have been repeated the same points that President Trump had called them a disaster in a phone call to Afghanistan’s president after his Twits which had cancelled the previous agreement. The spirit of the agreement is, somehow, in line with the ideological demands of the Taliban and tailored to their dogmatic dreams. Probably the Zalmi Khalilzad’s excessive secrecy about this agreement linked to the same issues.  Now, we should understand why Zalmai Khalilzad did not share the contents of this Agreement. In the content of the agreement Taliban is named as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which tacitly acknowledges the existence of a political system based on Islamic law with extreme interpretation of Taliban.  At the outset, however, it has been stated that the United States does not recognize such a system and is known as the “Taliban”.
The second point which seems more dangerous is the US commitment to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners from Afghan prisons. Mr. Khalilzad has made this deal while there is no legal basis for the release of five thousand criminals and killers. Those who were imprisoned in Afghan prisons under the name of Taliban have specific crimes mostly of them were arrested during committing crimes. In fact, no one has yet realized why such a big privilege has been given to the Taliban on behalf of Afghan government and Afghan people while nothing is known yet. There is no guarantee whether they would or would not return to the battle field or not join other terrorists in the country. In the past there were multiple reports indicated that the prisoners who were released from the prisons had returned to the battle fields. So, the collective result of 5000 fighters would be dangerous for the national security of the country. Therefore, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also said that the government has no commitment to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners as part of a landmark peace deal the United States signed with the Islamist insurgent group. He insisted the insurgent demand could be included in the agenda of the upcoming dialogue.
The third point which has not mentioned in the agreement is the position and place of Afghan government in the agreement document. This issue becomes more worrying when the Taliban persist that their litigant is still the USA, not the government of Afghanistan. If the Taliban really want peace and want to choose a peaceful life in the country, they must respect the people, the past achievement and the political system of Afghanistan. The Taliban should realize the citizen’s good-will and interest of their own country. Unfortunately, the Taliban have repeatedly rejected the people’s demand for past achievement and ceasefire.
At this critical step, there is no way except all politicians and government officials choose a united position in talks with Taliban to protect the system and the achievement. The current Afghan system and Afghan defense forces have been created with very heavy cost in the last two decades. All Afghan people love their security forces but hate the terrorists groups who killed thousands of people in last two decades. Any peace agreement without preserving these values will be really dangerous for the future of the country. If the Taliban still ignore the achievement and the system, the Afghan national security is ready to defend from the interests and achievement of the country on condition that there is no internal division and disunity.