US-Taliban peace deal prospects

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When America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 its main aim was to dismantle Al Qaeda and destroy their safe sanctuaries in Afghanistan.  The US was busy in searching the world most wanted Terrorists “Osama Bin Laden”. On May 2, 2011 Osama Bin Laden was killed by the US Special Forces in Abbotabad city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, province Pakistan. 

In 2006 the American government put extreme pressure on Pakistan. The than time US Secretary of state Armitage convey the message of G.W. Bush to  Pakistani Intelligence Chief that “be prepare to be bombed, Be prepare to go back to stone age”. After this extreme US pressure the Pakistani president ready to cooperate with the US.  Pakistan has handed over many Al Qaeda leaders to US. Beside this Pakistan allowed the US to strike drone attack inside Pakistan tribal areas that bordering Afghanistan.

After the killing of Osama bin Laden the US policy changed since they have achieved their objectives and aim in Afghanistan. The Obama Administration announced to pull out forces from Afghanistan but this process was not smooth. Because of the international pressure and without a smooth power transition the US was hesitant to leave Afghanistan.

On Feb 25 2019, the Trump administration began direct talks with Taliban in Doha. The Taliban insisted that they will not commit anything until the US forces announce its complete withdrawal timeline.  While the US demands were fluid. The Trump administration wanted a unilateral ceasefire and a timeline for peace deal between Taliban and Afghan government. But Taliban strongly opposed talking with the Afghan government. The Taliban consider the current Afghan Government as the Puppet of US. 

The American governments approve this and bar the Afghan government to directly participate in the peace deal. This decision has enrage the Afghan government, very few people know that Hmadullah Mohib the former Afghan ambassadorto United State and the incumbent national security advisor to president Ashraf Ghani was disregarded by the US Government. He was barred from meeting with the US officials or coordinate with the US military high ups. 

Mohib articulated his anger in press conference with the ongoing US-Taliban peace deal and sidelining the Afghan government. His assessment was right about the US attitude. The US is supporting the terrorists group while it is sidelining the internationally recognized Afghan government. He specifically targeted Zalmay Khalizad who is leading the US delegations. The people of Afghanistan consider the US moveas the US surrendered. 

Prospect of US-Taliban Peace deal

The American government is determined for the success of this peace deal. They want to peacefully withdraw from Afghanistan. There are zero chances of the failure of this peace deal. Why I am saying this? The proof is that US President has canceled the peace deal and termed at as dead while after a few weeks his administration again resume talks with Taliban. Beside this The American government has achieved its goal in Afghanistan they have killed Osama bin Laden and dismantle the Al Qaeda. There is only one threat remaining that is the presence of ISIS. US want to fight ISIS by supporting Taliban. Furthermore, the American government has spent round about some 737 billion dollars since 2001. There is nothing left for the American government in Afghanistan.  

A growing number of people thinks that Trump want this negotiations to be successful at any cost and before the 2020 US presidential elections. The Trump wants to use it as its political achievements in the upcoming presidential elections. 

While for the people of Afghanistan the scenario is different.They are tired of decade long war their generations have been grown up in war. The people of Afghanistan are closely watching and monitoring US-Taliban talks through radio and televisions. The people of Afghanistan are not hopeful about this peace deal based on their previous experience when the US ended its support of the Taliban after former Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and leaving behind a vacuum of external funding and infrastructure support.

The local people, academicians, politicians, journalists expect same US behaviour and nothing new this time too.

If the Trump administrations withdrawal from Afghanistanwithout supporting the internationally recognize the Afghan government the country will plunge into another civil war. There will be bloodbath and conflicts. The country will be dived in warlords. The ordinary civilians will be caught in crossfire.   

The people of Afghanistan do not trust Taliban. A large number of Afghan and some international experts arguing that Taliban are using this negations to get America and NATO forces out the country and cut off the international support of the Afghan government and retake control of the country by force.

Afghan Presidential Election and American Policy

To know the true policy of the America towards Afghanistanelections we must see the September 18 2019, statement of the US Secretary of State Michaelr. Pompeo.

“Along with other international donors, we have called repeatedly for the Afghan government and electoral institutions to make preparations for a credible and transparent presidential election. Afghan voters who risk their lives to participate in elections deserve to know the outcome accurately reflects the voters’ choice. Coalition forces and donors who have sacrificed to give Afghans the ability to choose their leaders deserve to have this confidence as well. 

We expect Afghanistan’s institutions to take all necessary steps to ensure the election is transparent and credible to Afghan voters. We hold all candidates accountable to the code of conduct they signed. We call on all parties, including the Taliban, to ensure Afghan voters can go to polling centers on Election Day without fear of intimidation, attack, or violence. We strongly condemn the threats made today by the Taliban against election workers and voters.  Any attempt to intimidate, coerce, or buy voters is an attack on democracy. We offer our strong support to the Afghan National Security Forces, who day-in and day-out sacrifice their lives for the cause of peace and stability”

The United state policy towards Afghanistan elections is very clear. So for we have not seen any hints or statement of the US government that supports a specific group or party.

The 2014 presidential election was deeply flawed and massive fraud was reported. The US governments intervene and decide that winner will not be declared and the power was dividebetween Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah. 

The United State thinks a troubled state of Afghan politics is a major and complicating factor for potential negotiations forsafe US withdrawal. The current 
Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections were also marred by logistical, managerial,
and security problems. Preliminary results, which were scheduled to be announced on October 19, are now expected onNovember 14, with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) blaming technical issues for the delay. 

The two rival candidates Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah declared himself the winner although the official’sresults are not announced. 

China is also very much interested in this peace deal as we all know that China has unleashed a network of business across the world they have already leased out a sea port in Sri Lanka and are working on a China Pakistan Economic Corridor and a sea port in Gawadar City of Baluchistan province, Pakistan. 

China has too much influence on the neighbouring countries they have not added Afghanistan to their business list because of the ongoing conflict and the presence of US and other international forces. Furthermore, it is the Chinese policy to avoid conflicts and focus on businesses. 

China is working hard for the success of peace deal. It is in their interest because China shared a little border with Afghanistan where the Chinese has difficulties in term of extremism.  As soon the US forces leave Afghanistan China will increase its influence. The US government has littlechances to influence Afghanistan government and to topple the Chinese in this region.

Kamran Khan
The writer has done MPhill in Media Studies. His research topic was “War on Terror, Comparative analysis of the local and National Press a case study of Daily Dawn, Jang, Mashriq and The Frontier Post." He has completed a course on Producing Media to counter Radicalisation in Netherland. Currently, he is working as Media Monitoring officer in Law and order Department, Fata Secretariat Peshawar.

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