Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

Taliban Continue to Outsmart Afghan Government & the US under the Guise of ‘Peace Talks’


Taliban Continue to Outsmart Afghan Government & the US under the Guise of ‘Peace Talks’

When US and NATO member countries first committed to Afghanistan and sent their armies to establish order and security after they toppled Taliban regime in Kabul, Afghans started to believe that their fate was then at safe hands because international community had stepped in, which could stop neighboring countries from interference in their. The reason for this optimism was that most Afghans believed these countries – including United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France…, were parties to World War 1 and World War 2, and in the process of these great wars they had helped many countries to rebuild from the ashes of these two wars. It was believed that Afghanistan was in similar condition and genuine intervention by international community could really have reconstructed Afghanistan and pulled it out of this intrinsic war, which continues to cause destruction and take immense toll on people’s lives and properties for last more than forty years now. Another cause for optimism was the power of US over countries involved in Afghan war – especially Pakistan. When George W Bush, the then president of United States of America declared war on terror after terrorists strike of 9/11, he bluntly warned the then president of Pakistan, Parwiz Musharaf, to either side with US or be against US in the war against Taliban. Pakistan quickly submitted and allowed all facilities and ports at the service of US military to use them against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. This was done despite the fact that Pakistan had brought up and established Taliban in Afghanistan with their gold and blood. This was the established ‘operating procedure’ of US forces around the world, which had resulted in toppling of Taliban regime in a matter of less than a month.  But as US and NATO member countries started to settle in post-Taliban Afghanistan, this calculus of the people of Afghanistan - to be optimistic - has proved wrong. In one of those meetings held between Hamid Karzai, the then president of Afghanistan and Joe Biden, the then US vice president, Joe Biden told Karzai that ‘Pakistan was fifty times more important to the US than Afghanistan’ in response to Karzai’s insistence that ongoing terror attacks and support for Taliban are coming from Pakistan, and that US had to go after Pakistan.
A sort of ‘shadow game’ and double standard policy is adopted, which continues to contribute in prolongation of war and increasing casualties of Afghans.  The reason for this shift in intervention in Afghanistan is due to changing geopolitical interest of parties involved. In a mysterious manner, Taliban were allowed to spread over a large swath of Afghan territory – forty percent – in a matter of four years during Hanif Atmar’s tenur as National Security Advisor to the president! In addition, absence of a national strategy for war and economic development has been the cause for present chaotic situation in both military and economic arenas in the country. Government responses to Taliban insurgents and other international terrorist organizations operating in country have been spasmodic. Appointment of military officers and war commanders has been politically instigated hence a level of incompetency and laggardness prevails in the security and defense institutions in the country. It requires whole lot of space to write about short-comings of government in relations with its responsibilities of numerous failures and setbacks in all fronts of governance and accountability. These factors have allowed Taliban to take advantage and spread like cancer throughout the country, and pose as ‘invincible force’ and ‘force to reckon with’, which resulted in government to beg for peace. This development in turn made regional countries and neighbors of Afghanistan to establish diplomatic relationship with Taliban, giving even more leverage to Taliban insurgents. At this point in time, government of Afghanistan is all, but besieged and left behind with denigrated dignity. US and other major powers are talking to Taliban directly – as Taliban demanded the same – and government of Afghanistan is sitting in waiting line for its turn – shamelessly hoping for a peace deal! Taliban insurgents, seeing the situation and time in their favor, continue to ratchet up their demands – now including withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan before they agree to any ceasefire! Where are those ears, eyes and mouths to come forward and tell Taliban that they had the entire army regiments from Punjab of Pakistan during their five year reign in the country? Hadn’t they provided safe havens to Al-Qaida leaders and fighters, who were Arabs using Afghan territory for their own purpose and had nothing to do with Afghanistan? To the disappointment of the people of Afghanistan, Afghan government doesn’t seem to have alternative plan in the event so called ‘peace negotiations’ failed. Multi-parallel teams and organizations are formed by Afghanistan government to engage in peace negotiations, while Taliban insurgents only have one team. President Ghani has assigned his negotiating team whose members don’t have the required populous authority and strong background. This sorry state of affairs should be corrected by government of Afghanistan at the earliest possible time or demise of Afghanistan will take this country to a path leading to complete destruction.

Mohammed Gul Sahibbzada is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammed.g.sahibbzada@gmail.com

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