U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal: Uncertainty At The End Of The Dark Tunnel

After a long, tiring and almost futile “war on terror”, the US is on the tables with Taliban to end the crisis. However, the peace deal is undergoing great stresses due to miscommunication and internal pressures. Various major regional powers and stakeholders are involved to provide relief to conflict ridden people. But the process is still to see many topsy-turvy. The US and Taliban previously agreed over free and fair elections and human rights, ensuring that Afghan land will not be used for terrorism. However, ground reality is quite bleak. Lingering destabilizing actions have hampered the peace deal. Continued attacks, human rights violations and uncertainty in the US camp has made the future of deal considerably doubtful.
Although peace deal was much boasted and major stakeholders lauded the rising amicability, there are voices that show concerns over the future of deal in general and Afghanis in particular. Since the US leadership has law as its background, it is more concerned about women and children’s rights, end of violence and soil being used by outfits to spread terrorism.
According to negotiations some meaningful efforts were made by the US government and Afghan government by releasing 5000 Taliban fighters from prison which clearly shows the intent to solve this long standing issue. But now when Ghani is reluctant in power sharing, the protracted violence and delays in negotiations have showed the potential to detract any further development. Post US withdrawal scenario seems hopelessly bleak because not only US failed to drive Taliban out but also succumbed to the difficulties of battlefield and economic cost increasing Taliban’s sway over affairs. The Taliban has asked US to leave by 1 May or the coalition forces will be dealt with full might but Biden’s stance alludes that US is not going to shun Afghanistan in this turmoil.
There are apprehensions that the deal is losing its utility every day and any wrong move by the US will result increase in violence that will have regional implications. If history is a guide, the US left Afghanistan shattered in the past that caused civil unrest and a huge wave of Afghan refugees moved into Pakistan. The same wave can be expected if violence is not curbed and that would be detrimental for already deteriorating Pakistani economy. The success of CPEC and future regional trade is highly associated with the future of Afghanistan. It can be safely said that the dream of regional connectivity and easy access to Central Asian countries would not materialize unless there is peace and stability in Afghanistan.
As previously discussed, Pakistan’s role is critical to forcing the deal pragmatically. As the negotiations are being delayed, Pakistan will be expected to pressurize Taliban to comply although it is said that the Taliban’s assumed upper hand is eroding Pakistan’s influence over them, Kenneth Mackenzie, commander of CENTCOM, said that one of the hinge points today in the world is to recognize the importance of Pakistan. Undoubtedly, India has invested heavily and self-assumed the title of leadership in Afghanistan, but Pakistan’s importance cannot be ignored that overshadows whatever effort India has made at this point of time.
The Taliban have climbed up the negotiation ladder. After billions of dollars, the US has poured into the Battlefield to combat the Taliban, today the Taliban control about 65% of the land and intermittently wreck havoc over Afghan and foreign forces, compelling the US to sit on the negotiating table. Taliban have then rightly assumed victory over Western forces under the notion that world’s superpower is negotiating and is unable to exert any diplomatic influence.
What lies ahead is a dark tunnel of uncertainty. Leaving Afghanistan in hassle like in the past will have dire consequences, not only for Pakistan but for US’ strategic ally India. Army withdrawal will only expose Afghan people to unprecedented danger and hostility. A strengthened UN assistance mission will be needed in Afghanistan for years after completion of peace process to facilitate political stability and cohesion. Stabilization also requires infrastructure and economic revival plan that will help dispatch once done on the road to prosperity. There is also a need of Afghan Pakistan trade agreement along with security plan, material assistance and training to Afghan forces for years to come.
In the end, it is worthy to recognize that the peace of Afghanistan as invariably linked with the future of the region and all stakeholders must strive to work and carve out a way that is inclusive and Afghan led to restore Golden days of the conflict ridden country.-