No agreement is perfect, US-Taliban deal is no exception


The US spokespersons and the Taliban representatives have signed an agreement after a long negotiation in Qatar Doha expected to end the US’s longest war in history. The pact was signed in Doha in the presence of many leaders from Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and India with the aim that the deal will pave the way for the US to remove its forces from Afghan’s land. Minutes before the negotiation was signed, a joint statement released by the negotiators believing that the US will withdraw its troops within 14 months. It is estimated that currently, about 14000 US troops and 17000 allies’ forces are stationed in Afghan in a non-combatant role.

Nevertheless, the pact seems more comprehensive and fragile, under the terms of the deal, the US pledged to withdraw all its troops as well as those of allies. The US will reduce its troops level to 8600 within the first 135 days, and the rest of its forces to be withdrawn in nine and a half months.

The comprehensive peace agreement is made of four major sections. First, the Taliban will guarantee and take the responsibility that Afghan soil will never be used against the US and allies security, second, to ensure and find a mechanism, as well as the announcement of a timeline for the withdrawal of all external forces form Afghanistan, third, after the announcement the complete removal of the foreign troops, the launch of Intra-Afghan negotiation by March 10; and lastly a permanent and a comprehensive ceasefire. The above for sections are interrelated; meanwhile, the first two agreements will unquestionably pave the way for the former two. 

It is now crystal clear that the US will withdraw its troops within the given timeline only if the Taliban honor their commitments, but any outcome at the current stage is unpredictable; should a bilateral agreement reached, or let the US enjoy a free ride for a particular time even if the deal is unsuccessful. On the other hand, if the agreement between the US and Taliban justly absolute, it will create additional trials and a matter of concern for the Afghan government as well as local people. For example, how the Taliban will negotiate with the current Afghanistan government? Just like yesterday, even today, the Taliban are not ready to negotiate with Ashraf’s administrations. 

Minutes before they signed the agreement, the Taliban assumed that it is not the part of the agreement to talk and negotiate with the current government, yet, the Taliban will only negotiate with Afghani people. The Taliban believe that they had played a significant role in Afghanistan’s stability and peace; they also contemplate that they control 70 % of Afghan territory. However, the intra-Afghan talk will be to achieve through diverse agreements. Yet it is still not confirmed whether the Taliban will negotiate with the contemporary government or not.

Case in point, since 2010, the Taliban insisted that if there is negotiation, there would be two stages, international and intra-Afghan. Apart from the international agreement which refers to the current deal with the US, If the Taliban failed to talk with the Ashraf’s administration, it would be harder for them to dialog with Afghani people and convinced them to build the new state called “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” with a new political system and ideology.

The US and its allies believe that our negotiation with the Taliban means bringing both the Taliban and the current government to the negation table, which will generate regional stability in the region. Meanwhile, the Taliban has so far rejected to negotiate with the Western-sponsored Afghan government, saying it is a puppet regime.

 As claimed by Esper,as intra-Afghan negotiations progress, the United States will oversee the Taliban’s actions to judge whether their efforts towards peace are in good faith. “If the Taliban uphold the agreement, the United States will begin a conditions-based reduction in forces. Simultaneously, we will work with other members of the Coalition to carry out a proportional decrease in troop levels. Nevertheless, should the Taliban fail to honor their commitments, they will forfeit their chance to sit with fellow Afghans and deliberate on the future of their country. Besides, the United States would not hesitate to nullify the agreement”.

The Esper words high spot another obstacle for intra-Afghan peace talk. The bilateral discussion between the Taliban and Ashraf’s administrations were always going to be very tricky. In general argument, it was mentioned that the government must release up to 5000 Taliban fighters, and the Taliban must free up to 1000 Afghan security personnel, sooner the idea was rejected by the Kabul.  On Sunday, Ashraf said, freeing the Taliban prisoners are not under the control of the US, and there is no commitment for the release of 5000 prisoners. It’s our most significant power against the Taliban, and we are not going to release them without thoughtful improvement in the peace process and will act according to the procedure.

The problem is that the US and the Taliban failed to discuss additional features of the intra-Afghan peace talk; however, what the Taliban believe that they can knob the current government without any push-force.

Unfortunately, it is also not mentioned in the peace agreement whether the ceasefire will continue after seven days or never again. However, experts believe that technically the Taliban hasn’t broken any deal, but circumstances like dealing with the current government will possibly turn the table. Moreover, if bilateral negotiation between the Taliban and the current government fail, the Taliban will continue attacks on the military forces as well as civilian those who favor the government. 

Not every deal is perfect; however, the agreement is still a hopeful moment. The road ahead will not be so easy. In order to achieve a wave of long-lasting peace, the parties should compromise with each other. 

Asad Ullah
Asad Ullah
Majoring International Relations at Shandong University, Shandong Qingdao China


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