Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

Will the Negotiations with Taliban Lead to Peace in Afghanistan?

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Will the Negotiations with Taliban Lead  to Peace in Afghanistan?

After the recent intensification of war in Afghanistan, especially after rocket attacks on Konar province and return of the prisoners into the battlefield, Afghan people became more disappointed about peace process and it became clearer that the Taliban is not yet ready to enter into serious negotiations with the Afghan government. It seems that this group is pursuing peace talks only for their political intentions such as introducing a fake identity to the world. They successfully changed their terrorist identity to a liberator identity and now they show themselves to the world’s public opinion as a peaceful group that they want to negotiate and peacefully resolve the problems of Afghanistan but the problem is that the Afghan government is not releasing their prisoners as committed in the agreement. Now, the question rise what is the real intention of Taliban? Do they lack a factual intention for peace and prosperity in Afghanistan or they use delay tactic with intensification of violence and killings so as to win greater privileges like imposing Islamic Emirate at the peace negotiating table in intra-Afghan peace talks.
Given the complex nature of Taliban and its inflexible position, there are still big differences between the Taliban and the Afghan people and government demand. To provide a deeper answer to the mentioned question, we need to r-recognize the nature of Taliban and its factual goals and origins. Almost there is a clear consensus inside Afghanistan that Taliban is supported by Pakistan saying Taliban is a fish and Pakistan like pool of water for its survival.  However, Pakistani government and its military leaders have pursued a denial policy portraying the war in Afghanistan as an insurgency and the Afghan civil war for power. They say that they have no control over the Taliban except limited influence.
If we look at the views inside Pakistan, there seems consensus about their goal and policy towards Afghanistan aiming to keep Afghanistan in a state of perpetual instability, chaos, and at best, to establish a puppet and friendly Pakistani government in Kabul obedient to consult with Pakistan on foreign policy.  Therefore, they invested millions of dollars in building schools, military and non-military camps to grow and train Taliban inside their country. These views are ideological in nature and passed down from generation to generation of military officers, diplomats and politicians. So, according to Pakistani military and military intelligence and also a number of Pakistani politicians Taliban is influenced by the Afghan jihad and jihadist but they use them against their internal and external enemies.
In the other word, Taliban is a by-product of the Cold War and the legacy of Afghanistan’s jihad but later deviated from its actual course. Many of the Taliban founders, including Mullah Mohammad Omar, had previously participated in Afghan jihad under the banner of various jihadist organizations. Initially, they emerged from Kandahar province as a spontaneous movement against oppression of the time such as killings, rapes, roadblocks, looting and so on but later they were deviated from its initial goals with supported by Pakistan intelligence groups. In addition, other different terrorist elements such as Arabs, Uzbeks, Chechens, Russians and even drug traffickers joined Taliban movement using them as an umbrella for their transnational and caliphate terrorist missions.
To support this theory there are several examples which quoted by local writers. Firstly, the confession of Benazir Bhutto in her memories saying they encouraged or lobbied Saudi Arabia, China and American to recognize the group. They tried to convince them saying that Taliban is the only group who can fulfill the interests of all sides. At the same time, the Pakistani intelligence group infiltrated into different level of Taliban organization with providing consultation for better military and political order. In addition, other writers such Mark Adkin, Stave cool and so on as quoted by local researchers have divulged similar relationship between Taliban movement and Pakistan intelligence network. So, Taliban has had a surrogating nature for Pakistan and its strategy. Based on this, it seems that Pakistan has an absolute domination on Taliban and they can weaken and even they annihilate whenever they wish.  
In addition to the above opinions about Taliban, there are other ideas such as Taliban is the strategic partner of Pakistan; Taliban is a military unit of Pakistan; Taliban is deterrent force and political tool for the foreign policy of Pakistan; Taliban is a power balancer groups against Pashtun nationalists and Duran-line issue. Based on these theories and ideas, Taliban is everything but not an independent group. The Taliban supporters have invested on Taliban because of certain aims and concerns and so Pakistan may not easily desist from cutting its military hand. In order to convince the Taliban, we need to convince their supporters responding their legitimate goals and concerns.
By and large, the current peace process will not only lead to peace in Afghanistan but also the violence may expand to the regions as the Taliban are not only a strong pressure tool for Pakistan’s foreign policy but also a strategic capital. Therefore, Taliban is not only dangerous for Afghanistan but also for regional countries in the longer run.  As above mentioned, Taliban is the strategic capital of Pakistan and the recent rockets attacks on Konar province showed that they will not destroy their strategic capital without reaching their goals. So, any agreements with Taliban without agreement with its supporters are senseless and will not lead to sustainable peace in the country. 

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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