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

Political Agreement Ensures a Viable Peace

Putting an end to more than four decades of conflict in Afghanistan is one of the top Agendas of the US. When the US and Taliban reached a peace deal, Afghans and international community hoped Afghan government and Taliban reach to a comprehensive peace agreement through the Intra-Afghan talks. As making a decision about the peace deal with Taliban was a very complicated issue, Afghan government decided to facilitate a national dialogue on peace talks with Taliban. To this end, a Consultative Peace Jirga was held in Kabul on August 7th-9th to discuss the way forward in the Afghan peace process and reach a decision regarding the release of the 400 Taliban prisoners, who had been implicated in serious crimes, and other various issues on the peace process.The 23-Point Declaration of the Consultative Jirga could act as the peace road map; Afghan government released the controversial Taliban prisoners as a sign of trust building. However, the Taliban in turn intensified the war and targeted civilians, women, Ulema, civil society activists and journalists. This approach of Taliban showed they look for military victory. If this happens, it will exacerbate commitment problems, increases the degree of support that insurgent leaders received from their civilian supporters and consequently increased the likelihood of recurrence of civil war. As it was expected, Afghan government looks for a political settlement to ensure sustainable peace. Success of the Peace talks as a bilateral process requires both sides to have a strong will for peace and declaring a ceasefire is the first.
The military victory model shows that when the war ends in a decisive military victory for the government or the insurgents, the offer of a political power-sharing agreement reduces the degree of support that insurgent leaders get from their civilian supporters and increases the costs of fighting for the insurgents. Hence, after a decisive military victory insurgents have incentives to accept the political power-sharing agreement and not revert to fighting. Results from Cox Proportional Hazard models estimated on a data set of 111 civil wars provide robust statistical support for the model’s predictions.
More than four decades of conflict in Afghanistan has institutionalized a culture of political and military violence, weak social tolerance and a deep mistrust between different ethnic groups. Although, the international community and Afghan government have taken serious steps toward developing and strengthening a civil culture to enable the members of the society to know their roles and responsibilities, in action, there are serious problems on these issues. In terms of national roles and responsibilities, people do not have a clear understanding of such roles and responsibilities. In addition to this, existence of a strong ethnic based interests, acts as a major barrier to put national interests first. At least, it is necessary to have minimum national interest’s criteria for forming a national consensus on peace talks red lines. Officially, the 23 points of the Peace Consultative Jirga has identified these criteria. However, different approaches of Afghan leaders in Moscow and other places have shown that Taliban do not much adheres to them. The idea that Taliban have changed was a big mistake by many Afghan leaders. From first Moscow Conference on Afghanistan to Qatar Afghan Peace talks, many Afghan leaders have tried to connect with Taliban in order to ensure their inclusion in the next government. However, emphasis of Taliban on renewing Emirat, under the name of Islamic State, showed that Taliban only peruse their own agenda both on the Table of peace talks and war fronts. The false assumption that Taliban have changed only helped Taliban to become a legitimate political group while international community and Afghans considered them as a terrorist group. Even top US officials admit that too much compromise has been made to satisfy Taliban to peruse their goal through a peaceful means. Afghanistan war is one of the longest wars and conflicts of the world. The experience of decade 70s shows that Afghan leaders cannot come to an agreement to put an end to Afghan conflict without the strong support and commitment of the international community and world powers. The commitment that Trump administration had made to leave Afghanistan on May 2021 was one of the major shortfalls of the US-Taliban peace deal. The realities of Afghanistan show that if the US had moved forward according to it, The US would have made one of its worst strategic mistakes in terms of Afghanistan and the War on Terror. Because Taliban only misused the opportunities the Afghan government, the Unites States and international community provided to the group. A comprehensive Political agreement that ensures the interests of all ethnic, religious and social groups of Afghanistan is the only means that ends to a sustainable peace. Although, Taliban claim they are ready for peace, more than 50 percent increase in violence after the US-Taliban Peace Agreement; showed the group peruses its goals through victory in the war fronts. Afghan leaders and international community shall ensure a peace deal that guarantees a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan. Any other mechanism only will pave the way for another conflict in the country.