Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, August 1st, 2021

Peace Process Needs to be Approached Realistically

The Taliban have tabled the peace negotiations and its delegation has traveled to Iran and Russia to show its resentment to the US new administration. The Taliban group is seeking to pressure Washington, which is reviewing the US-Taliban Doha agreement, to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan although the group has not honored the deal.
The group’s supporters are likely to have advised it to show its disapproval to Washington’s decision of reviewing the deal through traveling to Iran and Russia, the United States’ political adversaries. The Taliban held a victorious posture as they signed a deal with the Trump administration, saying that their war or “jihad” bore the desired result. The deal and concessions given to the group emboldened it to a great extent. Subsequently, the Taliban leadership sought to play a foul game with Afghan negotiators. Delaying the talks is also a “tactical move”. In other words, the Talban are seeking unilateral concessions at the negotiating table, and whenever the group feels that the table is turned on it, it backtracks tactically.
Afghanistan’s National Security Council spokesperson Rahmatullah Andar has said earlier that the Taliban do not have the will for peace because Kabul’s negotiators are present in Doha for peace talks but the Taliban are busy with their visits to foreign countries. The Taliban do not care if the war protracts and the killings of Afghans continue, according to him. He adds that the Taliban are already in fear of the US National Security Council’s review of the Doha agreement; therefore, the group resorted to foreign trips.
I believe that the Taliban will not be able to put pressure on Washington to agree with the Doha agreement without expecting the Taliban to honor it. I have said in my commentaries that the Taliban are seeking to play a foul game. The Taliban come to the table without genuine intention as they have signed the deal but not honored it as they are not holding meaningful talks with the Afghan side, reducing violence or cutting ties with al-Qaeda.
Political analyst Mohammad Daud Qayyoumi has said that the Taliban do not have the will for peace when the group advance peace negotiations and increase violence simultaneously.
It is believed that there are two main obstacles to peace talks. First, the Taliban intra-team disagreement is one of the reasons. For instance, the Taliban commanders and rank and file make a huge profit in the conflict. As they fight for making profit, peace is unlikely to be in their personal interests. Therefore, they urge their leadership to continue war. Second, the Taliban supporters also seek their benefit in the talks. Whenever they feel that their interests are not ensured in the talks, they urge the Taliban to stop or delay the negotiations.
Meanwhile, the supporters of the Taliban group also embolden it through arming their fighters, harboring their members, curing their wounded fighters, and advising their leaders on multiple issues, including the talks. To put it succinctly, the Taliban supporters have not withdrawn their support from the group, which is a major obstacle to the peace progress. Hence, an international consensus has not been formed in practical manner although all countries have said they support the ongoing peace process.
To broker the deadlock, Washington has to pressure the Taliban supporters to take practical steps in supporting the peace process. Strong sanctions need to be imposed on countries supporting the Taliban group or other terrorist networks. Meanwhile, it needs to be declared to all states that the US-led NATO forces will target the Taliban’s safe havens wherever existed. If regional and global states pressure the Taliban through destroying their safe havens, freezing the bank accounts of their leaders, and expelling their families from their soil, the Taliban will not be able to resist at all. With this in mind, all countries have to withdraw their supports from the Taliban group so that the Afghan peace process comes to fruition. That is to say, Afghan state and nation have called on all countries to engage constructively in the peace talks; but if some states simply stop playing their role destructively, talks are likely to bear the desired result. 
The Trump’s dealing with the Taliban group proved that giving concessions to the group was a wrong strategy as it did not lead to peace or stability. Worst, it emboldened the group, which is widely engaged in violence and instability.
The US new administration has to adopt a more realistic approach to the Afghan peace process and pressure the Taliban to negotiate with goodwill and their backers to stop supporting the group.