Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

US-Taliban Peace Agreement Had no Positive Impact on Afghanistan

One year has passed from the US-Taliban peace agreement, signed in Qatari capital of Doha, militancy continues unabated, though. Afghan soldiers and civilians have sustained heavy casualties as a result of the Taliban’s intensified attacks. Heavy death toll, unmitigated insurgency, Taliban’s refusal to reduce violence or declare ceasefire, and stalemate in the intra-Afghan dialogue, which has been broken recently, filled the air with disappointment. Afghans are likely to have lost their trust in the peace process, especially as the Taliban are gearing up for spring offensive.
The United States and NATO say that the Taliban have not honored their 2020 peace accord. That is, the Taliban maintain their ties with al-Qaeda and Haqqani network, refuse to reduce violence, and did not have meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government. On the other hand, the Taliban insist on the US troop withdrawal. Worst, Sirajuddin Haqqani has warned of an unprecedented conflict if foreign troops do not exit Afghanistan by May. This is an obvious remark in support of the Taliban by a recognized terrorist group. The Taliban never publically condemned Haqqani network or al-Qaeda.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has resumed his shuttle trip in the region aimed at pushing the intra-Afghan dialogue forward through gaining regional consensus. However, Afghans have lost their trust in Khalilzad, who signed a peace agreement with the Taliban without achieving any gains for Afghanistan. In other words, the US-Taliban peace agreement, to which Afghanistan was not a signatory, could not mitigate insurgency or bring in peace and stability. With this in mind, Khalilzad does not carry much weight by now as his trips to regional and global states could not even lead to the persuasion of the Taliban in reduction of violence and declaration of ceasefire. Meanwhile, Pakistan was also not persuaded to use its leverage on the Taliban leadership.
It is believed that if the Taliban do not honor the Doha peace agreement, the peace talks will be deadlocked. Meanwhile, violation of the deal is most likely to strip the Taliban group of international recognition as a legitimate party to peace. If the Taliban seek the US troop pullout, they have to honor their deal, reduce violence and enter in meaningful peace talks with the Afghan government. That is to say, if the Taliban honored the Doha agreement, the US forces could exit Afghanistan by May. But the US and NATO troops are unlikely to withdraw from the country since the Taliban violated the deal and are engaged in escalated insurgency.
Threatening remarks will not work out. In response to Haqqani’s remarks, Mullah Manan Niazi, the leader of the Taliban’s splinter group, called Haqqani “stooge” of Panjab, a province of Pakistan.
He added that Jalaluddin Haqqani, father of Sirajjudin Haqqani, offered the tanks, weapons and helicopters of Khost province of Afghanistan to Pakistan as gift. Concerning to Haqqani’s statements – as he said, “Today… we have the technology to use drones, we have our own missiles” – Niazi said that Panjab had designed new weapons so that the Haqqani network kill the people of Afghanistan.
The US-Taliban Doha agreement simply gave concessions to the Taliban as the Pentagon reduced the number of US troops in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, more than 5,000 Taliban fighters, including their dangerous figures, were released from Afghan prisons and the names of the Taliban leaders were removed from the UN blacklist. Nonetheless, scores of Afghan soldiers and civilians have been killed so far. The Taliban are again preparing for spring offensive, which indicates that they are not genuine in the negotiations and may not accept declaration of ceasefire. In short, the Trump-Taliban peace accord did not have a positive impact on the security situation in Afghanistan.
After all, the Taliban declared the deal as “victory” of the “jihad” against “the infidels” and Taliban’s political spokesperson called it a “withdrawal agreement”, in his earlier interview with national TV outlet, rather than peace agreement.
Overall, the people of Afghanistan believe that the Taliban do not have genuine intention in the peace talks and some neighboring countries are not willing to use their leverage on the Taliban leadership and do not practice upon the principle of good neighborliness.
If neighboring countries seek their own interests in the talks, the peace process will be highly complicated and the negotiations will not bear the desired result.
Washington has to put pressure on the neighboring countries to play constructive role in the peace process and persuade the Taliban to reduce their violence.