Afghanistan : US-Taliban Peace Deal sans Ceasefire to Face Trust Deficit
Photo credit:Aljazeera

Since the chapter of the US-Taliban peace talks has opened between the US and the Taliban, the terror attacks have increasingly surged in Afghanistan as compared to erstwhile.

The US-Taliban Peace Talks

Amid US-Taliban peace talks in Qatar (Doha), on September 1, 2019, Taliban militants have launched a massive assault on Kunduz Province (northern Afghanistan) which left at least 56 insurgents and several civilians killed followed by a huge suicide attack in Kunduz city, on September 3, 2019 Taliban claimed a another suicide attack accompanied by a gunman took place in the center of Kabul city which left at least 16 civilians killed and 100 others seriously wounded. Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad the United States’ special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation at the state Department of USA, has precisely divided the peace negotiations into two parts; (1) The US-Taliban negotiation (2) Intra-Afghan (the incumbent Afghan Government and Taliban) Negotiations.

Intra-Afghan Talks

Afghans, on the other hand, fear the ongoing US-Taliban peace deal, the deal is thought to be a ceasefire between the two sides, yet the intra-Afghan talks are foreseen to be bringing prospect repercussions in the country, and anticipation of another war in a different structure in Afghanistan. As the earlier intra-Afghan negotiations have not left any positive upshot, which was merely an outset of a new war after the other, and overthrow of a regime after the other. Mr. Khalilzad has so far presented the Afghan government only the draft of the US-Taliban peace deal, sidelining the Afghan government in the current talks, which lucidly legitimize recognition of the Taliban group.

Two main reasons are leaving the Afghans distrusting of the ongoing peace deal:

  • Mounting Terror Attacks on Civilians
  • Deprivation of the Afghan government in the ongoing talks.

Taliban’s Terrorist Attacks on Civilians

Amid the peace negotiations, the Taliban militants have launched several offensives and suicide blasts in the capital city and other regions of Afghanistan, showcasing the reluctance of the Taliban group for a ceasefire in the country. On September 12, 2019, a Taliban suicide car bomber targeted an Afghan special forces’ base on the outskirts of the capital, Kabul, in which at least 4 troops put their lives to the death. In Taliban’s another deadliest attack in Kabul on September 11, 2019, a US service member along with a Romanian soldier and 10 other Afghan civilians were killed, the attack took place near the US embassy, such attacks triggered the concerns of the Afghan government over the peace deal on putting out the USA long war in Afghanistan, Dr. Ashraf Ghani the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan said “Peace with a group that is still killing innocent people is meaningless,”. (Taye, 2018), Therefore, political analysts believe that the recent violence from the Taliban side indicates their pessimism towards peace in the country.

Peace Talks in Doha and Moscow

At the outset, the government of Afghanistan was sidelined to participate in the talks, several peace conferences were held in Qatar(Doha) and Moscow(Russia). The Taliban declined to set on the table with Ghani’s administration, calling it the U.S. made government, although an informal group of negotiators appointed by the Afghan government held peace talks with the Taliban in Moscow it gave no positive result. some of the president’s rival politicians held high-profile meetings with Taliban negotiators in Moscow.

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Those talks marked the most vital linkage between senior Afghan political figures and the militant group since the U.S.-led war in 2001, leveraging from the ongoing political skirmishes the government’s rivals are stressing on an interim government before the presidential elections.

Taliban doesn’t accept Govt. Involvement

One of the Taliban’s conditions for talks was that the Afghan government must not be involved, while NATO has said “it is no way possible” to have a lasting peace sans the utter involvement of the Afghan government. the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has emphasized the need for the central government to be involved, while Khalilzad has suggested that a parameter for bringing the government into an Afghan-owned peace process will succeed only after the peace agreement between the US and the Taliban.

US Taliban Peace Talks are Dead

After several rounds of talks the U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off peace talks with the Taliban, in response to a Taliban attack that killed around 12 people, including a U.S. soldier. After his Twitter announcement, Mr. Trump said “, they are dead,” referring to the US-Taliban negotiations, followed by the sacking of National Security Adviser John Bolton, an opponent of the talks (Jakes, 2019).

Political Integrity of Afghanistan

Talks with external actors such as the US and Russia and bypassing elected bodies in Afghanistan will significantly harm the political integrity of Afghanistan. It would legalize the recognition of an insurgent group that has been involved in a war over the last one and half decade and ultimately lead to havoc in the country. If the Taliban are optimistic about the ceasefire and ending the US-led long war, they have to end terror attacks in the country, and set with the government of Afghanistan for talks. sidestepping the central government and escalation of attacks would merely put a long pause to the ongoing negotiations.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Eastern Herald.