The US and Afghan Taliban are engaging in direct talks and end the decade-long war in Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban are looking for ways to completely control Afghanistan while the current Afghan government is keen to negotiate. Unlike the past, the peace is expected to return to Afghanistan, but will the Taliban retake Afghanistan?
The US and Taliban have publicly appreciated progress in their recent talks. They have covered considerable ground mainly on two issues: firstly a clear timeline for the US troops’ withdrawal and Secondly, Afghan soil can not serve as the base for groups such as al Qaeda and others.
A certain section is suspicious of the ongoing peace talks and fears that when the US troops leave, Taliban may capture Kabul, again. Their fears arose from the manner with which the US has shown affection towards Taliban’s main demand of troops’ withdrawal. Also, the absence of the Afghan government from the peace process indicates the helplessness of Kabul administration.
The US ambassador to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rayon Crocker is not happy with the way the Trump administration is managing the current situation in Afghanistan. In a recent interview with Foreign Policy, Crocker tells why he believes the Trump administration’s reported framework deal with the Taliban is a betrayal of the democratically-elected Afghan government.“I think the concerns are pretty clear,” Crooker remarked.
The Afghan government is not able to push the Taliban for talks at the same platform. The Taliban don’t recognise the Afghan government. The outcome of these talks is going to be sadly different from preconceived notions.
The former diplomat argued: “If we withdraw as we’re talking about in an 18-month timeline, you will simply see the Taliban move in and retake the country”. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also believes that Pakistan still controls the Taliban.
The growing uncertainty has prompted the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Zalmay Khalilzad to issue a detailed statement on Twitter, pacifying fears of the Afghan government and those who think that the ongoing talks may give the Taliban rights to take charge of the Afghan affairs.
“The path to peace doesn’t often run in a straight line. The situation in Afghanistan is complex and like all sensitive talks, not everything is conducted in public,” Khalilzad said. According to Khalilzad, “sceptics have rushed to judgment based on just the first part of a much larger effort, as though we have a completed agreement”.
The Taliban have also come up with a statement declaring that they are not seeking “monopoly on power” in a future administration in Afghanistan but are looking for ways to co-exist with Afghan institutions.
Does that mean the Taliban will share power with other Afghan groups? If they do, will other players such as the current government in Kabul sit with the insurgents? These complex questions show that Khalilzad is right that the road to peace in Afghanistan is not straight forward.
After surviving the US military might for more than 17 years, the Taliban has emerged as a powerful force that wishes to capture the Kabul.
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