Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 22nd, 2020

Militancy Continues Unabated Despite US-Taliban Peace Deal

There are still many ifs and buts regarding the peace talks despite the agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban leadership early this year. With the Taliban’s three-day declaration of ceasefire on Eid, the prisoner swap between the Kabul government and the Taliban leadership stepped up raising hope for start of negotiations between the two sides.
Afghans have been disappointed with the US-Taliban peace agreement since it could not lead to peace and stability in the country. The Taliban intensified their attacks against the Kabul government, which show their lukewarm response to peace.
To Afghans’ unmitigated chagrin, however, Washington is seeking to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan notwithstanding the ongoing instability and Taliban’s threats to the country.
Rahmatullah Nabil, former director of National Directorate of Security, said on a tweet that “if state sponsors of terrorism in the region are not stopped, we will see another 9/11 style attack in future.” He added, “Alqaeda’s Al-Zawahiri, Abu Muhammad Al Masri and Saif ul Adel are still planning for attacks in the west with the backing of Haqqani network which is based in Pakistan.” He doubts the Taliban to discontinue their tie with al-Qaeda as he says that the Taliban, mainly the Haqqani network, have never denounced al-Qaeda. Nabil indicates that the US troop pullout at the current critical juncture and existing threat is likely to backfire.
Afghans also seem to lose their hope in the peace process as the US-Taliban agreement could neither broker talks between the Kabul and the Taliban nor lead to peace in the country. Despite this fact, Washington seeks to leave Afghanistan in the lurch.
Afghans and a number of western politicians believed that it could be a political blunder for the Trump administration to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan without ensuring that the Taliban will honor the peace deal and Afghanistan will be stabilized. If troop pullout occurs despite the continuation of militancy, the US blood and treasure invested in Afghanistan will be all in vain. Thus, before considering the troop pullout, the White House should pressure the Taliban to honor the deal and reduce their violence.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have to decrease their attacks, especially against the civilians, to pave the ground for intra-Afghan dialogue. In other words, the Taliban are unlikely to be able to impose their will on Afghan people through the barrel of gun and intensification of violence will further complicate the peace process. After the three-day ceasefire declared by the Taliban on Eid Day, the Afghan state and nation demanded the prolongation of the truce, which would contribute to the intra-Afghan dialogue. However, the Taliban resumed their attacks. Perhaps one of the reasons behind the Eid truce was that the Taliban sought to demonstrate the influence of its leadership on its rank and file. But Afghans are aware of the fact that the Taliban are the main militant group and destroyer in the country, and if the group lays down its arms, the bulk of the security challenges will be resolved.
If the Taliban group is not a pawn in political game and has its own authority, it has to step up its efforts for the start of intra-Afghan dialogue and put an end to their acts of killing and murder.
The Taliban could not bridge the gap between its group and Afghan locals, who view the Taliban as terrorists and merciless killers as well as foreign mercenaries. For instance, Afghans are clear that the Taliban’s three-day ceasefire was not to have mercy on people but to seek international recognition and make headline on international newspapers. In short, there are foreign advisors and masterminds behind the Taliban’s programs. The Taliban consult their foreign backers or even obey their orders in the peace talks.
Afghan political pundits have reiterated on multiple occasions that the marginalization of the Kabul government in the US-Taliban peace talks would not lead to peace and stability in the country. But their words fell on deaf ears and the two sides signed a deal without the involvement of the Ghani administration. Subsequently, the deal put no positive effect on the country’s peace issue.
As Washington signed deal with the Taliban without the involvement of the Kabul administration, it has to broker the talks between Kabul and the Taliban before the troop withdrawal and ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan so that the two decades of blood and treasure should not be wasted and Afghanistan is not backtracked after making great strides in democratic issues. Only the peace deal will carry weight for Afghan state and nation if it stabilizes the country.