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Afghanistan peace process-post Doha Agreement

  • 09 March, 2021

  • 8 Min Read

Afghanistan peace process-post Doha Agreement

Introduction

  • The peace process in Afghanistan has reached a critical turning point.

Doha Agreement

  • The intention of the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan as early as May 1, as specified in the Doha Agreement will impact the security situation and the Taliban could make rapid gains.
  • Despite the Doha Agreement, the Taliban has not ended its ties with the al-Qaeda and other similar terrorist groups. Nor have intra-Afghan negotiations progressed.

Doha agreement

 

  • Comprehensive Ceasefire between the Afghan Government and Taliban.
  • Timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan will be carried out, provided the Taliban adhere to their security guarantees and ceasefire.
  • The prevention of the use of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies.
  • The facilitation of an intra-Afghan dialogue.
  • The participants of intra-Afghan negotiations will discuss the date and modalities of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, including agreement over the future political roadmap of Afghanistan.
  • In turn, the Taliban has demanded the release of 5000 fighters from Afghan-run jails.
  • Bu the Doha agreement is not happening in substance.
  • The U.S. is anxious to proceed to a final settlement rapidly on terms visible from the very outset of the peace process.

Will U.S disengage itself completely from Afghanistan? (Role of Pakistan)

  • The continuation of Zalmay Khalilzad as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the State Department was an early sign that, in substance, U.S. policy is going to remain unaltered.
  • The U.S. maintains that its objective is to bring about a just and durable peace through political negotiations in a manner that Afghanistan remains united, sovereign, and democratic, and preserves the gains made over the past two decades.
    • This is a tall order, as it contradicts the abiding U.S. priority, to cut its losses and be out of Afghanistan at the earliest.
  • The conundrum for the U.S. is that it cannot disengage from Afghanistan, without accepting Pakistan’s terms.
    • These would not be acceptable to Afghan patriots who want freedom for Afghanistan to choose its political direction.
  • If training, combat support, and the supply of weapons are stopped from Pakistan, the Taliban could be on its knees.
  • The U.S. Government is wary but resigned about Pakistan’s negative role. Instead of pressuring Pakistan, it is seeking Afghan acquiescence for a power-sharing arrangement with the Taliban, enabling the exit of U.S. soldiers.

The road map

  • U.S.As point of view: The U.S. Government is advocating ‘a new, inclusive government’ in Afghanistan, which implies an immediate 50% share for the Taliban in an interim government, as a quid pro quo for a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.
    • As a prelude to the ceasefire, the U.S. has proposed to the Taliban to reduce violence for three months, intended to head off the Taliban’s threatened spring offensive.
  • Russia’s point of view: When the intra-Afghan negotiations envisaged under the Doha Agreement stalled, Russia offered Moscow as an alternate venue.
    • Instead, the United Nations is being asked to convene, with Turkey being asked to host a meeting of foreign ministers or envoys from China, India, Iran, Pakistan, Russia, and the U.S. to discuss a unified approach to supporting peace in Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan’s point of view: Mr. Ghani is being encouraged to work closely with a broad consultative group, for which the core leaders identified are Abdullah Abdullah, former President Karzai, and an important former Mujahideen commander, Professor Abdul Rasul Sayyaf. The objective of this exercise is to build consensus on specific goals and objectives for negotiations with the Taliban on power-sharing, governance, and essential supporting principles.

The implications for India

  • India remains fully committed to Afghanistan. Despite the policy flux there, bilateral relations are flourishing.
  • There have been frequent and productive high-level exchanges between Indian and Afghan leaders.
  • The Afghanistan acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Haneef Atmar, is visiting New Delhi on March 22.
  • India is to be part of the future consultation process on Afghanistan.
  • India has stayed the course with a long-term commitment to supporting state institutions in Afghanistan, expanding its development partnership, working with all communities across the country, and asking leaders of all Afghan ethnicities to remain together.
    • That policy has been well-received by most of the Afghan people and government, it was well-suited to the time, and it has served India well.

Way ahead

  • The patriotic Afghan people admire their erstwhile leaders, President Najibullah and Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, who were committed to building the nation.
  • Such people look to India as a friend and expect solidarity.
  • Once the U.S. forces are pulled out, India must step up to assist materially those who want to defend the Afghan republic.

 

 

Source: TH

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