Washington, DC – Six months after the much-hyped peace deal signed between the United States and the Taliban on February 20 earlier this year, a discerning eye can see fissures in the implementation process and hiccups from both Pakistan and India, two vital pieces of the solutions to the Afghan war puzzle which has been going on for nearly two decades. Add to that the umpteen number of intra-Afghan factions and global vested interests, ready to torpedo any real success floating story.
India and Pakistan both suffer from terrorism. The former faces the cross-border kind from Islamabad-controlled terror outfits, and the latter has homegrown elements attacking with impunity.
Although the aforementioned agreement stipulates that the Taliban will work to stop terrorism activities from its soil, there is no clear-cut method that defines how it will be achieved.
This definitely doesn’t augur well for India and Indian presence in the war-torn nation and billions in its investment. Over the years, the presence of NATO troops, including the US, brought a certain stability, allowing India to invest in friendly Afghanistan. However, a prominent Taliban faction, the Haqqani group, has done enough damage to Indian assets. Here it is essential to note the role played by Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), with an undeniable link with the Haqqani group.
Under the terms of the deal, the US commits to withdrawing all of its military forces and supporting civilian personnel and those of its allies within 14 months. The Afghan government committed to releasing up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners as a gesture of goodwill in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security forces held by the Taliban. According to the latest reports, this part has already run into troubled waters as the Afghan government stopped short of releasing all, demanding first the Taliban fulfill its part of the bargain.
Ironically, last year, US President Donald Trump walked away from a nearly finished deal after a US service member was killed in a September car bombing in the Afghan capital, Kabul. The present agreement took more than 18 months to hammer out, with uncertain rounds of talks in Doha, the Qatari capital, where the Taliban maintains an office.
The point to note is how the US has been giving concessions to the Taliban as the talks were led by only its chief representative, Khalilzad, and the Taliban, who insisted on such conditions of talks.
There is the hope of a reduction in violence in Afghanistan after the implementation of the US-Taliban peace arrangement, culminating in an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. With bated breath, the political pundits await progress as a failure will give the Taliban an upper hand to continue violence while having some additional fighters set free to swell their ranks.
Tejinder Singh was the Founder and Editor of India America Today, and is the inspiration for Global Strat View.