In Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban are advancing negotiations to implement the measures of the historic peace agreement signed on February 29. Although the document has already been signed and meetings between American officials and Taliban leaders have become increasingly frequent, there is a significant delay in the implementation of the agreement. According to experts, the complete absence of the Afghan government in the negotiations and the direct relations between the USA and the Taliban – a terrorist group – are the main causes for the apparent failure of the project.
The agreement between the USA and the Taliban was signed with the hope of being a historic event that would put an end to the spiral of violence and terror that has befallen Afghanistan for decades, however, this violence has not only continued but has been increasing since February, and several attacks by the terrorist group have been reported. The Taliban is not complying with any of the conditions of the agreement, such as the release of prisoners.
Last week, the implementation of the terms of the US-Taliban agreement was discussed by General Scott Miller, commander of the US Armed Forces and the current NATO support mission in Afghanistan, and the Taliban leadership in the capital of Qatar, Doha. Days later, Miller and Zalmay Khalilzad, US special representative for Afghanistan, met with the Taliban in Doha for the same purpose. The talks were previously scheduled for March 10, but have been repeatedly postponed due to a series of disagreements, mainly the continuation of Taliban violence.
The weakest point of the agreement is precisely the absence of the Afghan government, with only the Taliban and American interests taken into account, to the detriment of an entire sovereign national state that has been victimized by violence for decades. Therefore, the agreement can only bring a shallow and weak unstable “peace” whose only beneficiaries will be the US and NATO troops, while the Afghan population will continue to be hostage to successive attacks.
Bilquees Daud, senior associate researcher at Global O.P. Jindal, in an interview to Sputnik, said: “The Afghan government has no role here. Even the ceasefire was defined in the agreement as reducing violence only against NATO forces. Therefore, these meetings are very unlikely to bring peace to Afghanistan (…) The country’s socio-political landscape has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, so I am not sure whether the Taliban is ready to accept these changes and modify its demands. If they don’t, Afghans are unlikely to accept the kind of government the Taliban is demanding”. Daud also said that the peace process is fraught with errors mainly due to the fact that Washington only cares about its own interests. For her, peace could only prevail in Afghanistan through intra-Afghan negotiations and agreements, taking into account the interests of forces operating in the country to the detriment of external powers.
Raghav Sharma, associate professor and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Global University O. P. Jindal, in a similar sense, says there are fundamental problems with the agreement and that there are a number of accusations of breaches of the agreement that came from both sides. In his words: “These fundamental divergences, associated with the shift in the balance of forces on the battlefield and the political imbroglio in Kabul, will make it terribly difficult to make tangible progress at these meetings to reduce violence on the ground”. Sharma even pointed out the Afghans’ lack of participation in concluding the agreement, stating: “The fact is that for intra-Afghan dialogue to lead to pan-Afghan legitimacy and contribute to a meaningful negotiated solution, it must not only reflect the changing landscape country’s socio-political context, but there must be a consensus among the elite in Afghanistan about the need and the roadmap for such a dialogue”.
Another interesting point about the agreement was dealt with by the strategy and security expert Nishanki Motwani, who noted that the main objective of this negotiation is to generate a “peaceful” US exit from Afghanistan for the benefit of the Taliban itself, as in a kind of political succession in the parents. These are his words: “In the short term, these meetings may contribute to the implementation of the US-Taliban agreement, but they do not happen because the Taliban wants peace or seeks to share power. The caveat here is that the implementation of the agreement would be because the Taliban wants to facilitate a US exit from Afghanistan so that it can capture power (…) The Taliban are aware of and are actively exploring the US’s stated position to leave Afghanistan before mid-2021 and the upcoming US presidential elections in November 2020, to get the maximum gains in the remaining period. The goal is to weaken the Afghan government before the start of intra-Afghan negotiations”.
After all, with an almost unanimous opinion among experts about the flaws in the agreement, are the United States and the Taliban really negotiating this peace “innocently”? The most curious of all this is the American willingness to negotiate with a terrorist group. Generally speaking, in a war scenario, we can always negotiate with the enemy, but the so-called “global war on terror” is not a typical war, but a global exercise of police power, in which the terrorist is not seen as a simple “enemy”, with whom one can negotiate, but as a true “international criminal” against whom only war can be waged. This is the logic behind anti-terrorism: you cannot negotiate with terrorists. So, is it possible to say that the Taliban is really an organization worthy of negotiation? For Washington, apparently, it is, while the government of a National State – Afghanistan – is not.
This all leads us to believe that the United States wants to transfer its occupation in Afghanistan to the Taliban yoke, not really effecting the pacification of the country, but benefiting both – the terrorists and the US – the violence will not stop anytime soon.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.