Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

Taliban Terrorists Show no Goodwill to Negotiations or Peace Agreement

The Taliban have neither honored their peace agreement, signed in February 2020 with the United States, nor negotiated with genuine intention with the Afghan administration. They stalled the intra-Afghan dialogue, began after the US-Taliban Doha peace accord, seeking military solution to the ongoing conflict.
Based on the international law, negotiators as well as signatories to an agreement have to exercise “goodwill”, which is a universal principle. Negotiations between states are means for peaceful settlement of international disputes and extension of bilateral and multilateral cooperation at global level. In short, “peaceful settlement of dispute” and commitment to talks with “goodwill” are the two prominent characteristics of negotiations and have root in international instruments. Negotiations with goodwill are, often, a necessary precondition for reaching an agreement.
The UN Charter states in Article 33, “The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.” It adds, “The Security Council shall, when it deems necessary, call upon the parties to settle their dispute by such means.”
Despite the emphasis put on commitment to negotiations with goodwill as well as peaceful settlement, there is no mechanism to force parties to a dispute to sit at the negotiating table. But once negotiations begin between parties, lack of goodwill is a violation of legal principle in international law. Meaningful negotiations – i.e. talks with goodwill and genuine intention for reaching a positive result – are the most appropriate mechanism for settlement of dispute between states. To prove one’s goodwill, the negotiating sides have to struggle for holding regular talks without stalling as well as for reaching an agreement. Furthermore, they have to show flexibility and even backtrack on their important preconditions if need be. In short, commitment to negotiations with goodwill is not only a moral value but also a legal principle.
However, the Taliban have proved no goodwill in their agreement with the United States as they refused to declare a permeant ceasefire, reduce violence or sever their ties with al-Qaeda and other international terrorist networks. Worst, the Taliban group intensified its attacks against the Afghan government after signing peace deal with Washington as well as the US troop pullout. That is, the group was emboldened as it got international recognition via its deal with the Trump administration.
Simultaneously, the group stalled the intra-Afghan dialogue and never negotiated with goodwill with the Ghani administration. Its escalated violence and postponement of the talks show the group’s lukewarm response to and lack of goodwill in the negotiations. It is not making any effort in reaching an agreement or continuing the talks in sincere way. That is, the Taliban’s indiscriminate killings of Afghan people show that they are not seeking a peaceful settlement to the conflict. They are committed neither to the dialogue nor to the Doha peace agreement. Meanwhile, the Taliban show no flexibility at the peace table despite given many concessions, which is another indication of their insincerity and lack of goodwill.
Overall, the Taliban violate an international principle as they have no commitment to the negotiations or to the peace agreement with goodwill or genuinely seeking a peaceful settlement to the conflict.
The Taliban’s foul play at the negotiating table, violation of their agreement with the US, and escalated violence have disappointed the people of Afghanistan, including the officials and ordinary individuals and make them lose their hope in the peace process. Seeking continued talks with much tolerance, urging the Taliban to continue the talks with goodwill and calling on regional and global stakeholders to put their weight behind the intra-Afghan dialogue, the Ghani administration shows no further optimism to the talks and is seeking to deal with the Taliban militarily as long as the Taliban return to the table with genuine intention.
The Taliban lack commitment and goodwill not only to negotiations and agreement but also to international instruments. They are widely engaged in war crime and flagrant violation of the International Humanitarian Law. The Taliban spill the blood of ordinary people and non-combatants, including women and children. They destroy the houses and properties of the local people and occupy residential areas and houses to fight against the government, which is a reminder of the 1990s.
Since the Taliban intentionally stalled the talks and refused to seek a peaceful settlement to the conflict and violated their agreement with Washington, regional and global stakeholders have to impose sanction on the group, put it back on the terrorist list, and resume military action against it. The US had better undo the agreement, which is honored only by the US not the Taliban.