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Analysis of Afghanistan peace talks – UPSC

  • 29 December, 2020

  • 12 Min Read

Analysis of Afghanistan peace talks – UPSC

Context: UPSC GS Paper II: International issues: (Mains-Interview)

For complete Article on Afghanistan Peace Talks and US – Taliban deal: click here

  • With the Afghan government and the Taliban preparing to resume talks in Doha next week, one of the pressing problems Afghanistan is facing remains unaddressed — the surging violence.

Chronology of events in Afghanistan peace process

  • The year 2020 was one of the bloodiest in Afghanistan’s 19-year-long conflict.
  • It saw a U.S.-Taliban agreement in February where the Americans promised to withdraw troops in return for the insurgents’ assurance that they would not allow terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda to operate from Afghan soil.
  • In September, the Afghan government and the Taliban began peace talks for the first time in Doha.
  • But despite these diplomatic openings, both sides have continued their attacks. Afghanistan saw increased violence and targeted killings, especially of media professionals.

Peace talks: a complicated process

  • The U.S. first cut a deal with the Taliban and then arm-twisted the government to join the talks.
  • Abdullah Abdullah, who challenged the 2019 election results and formed a short-lived parallel government questioning the legitimacy and authority of President Ashraf Ghani, is heading the government delegation in the talks.
  • Mr. Ghani’s Vice-President, Amrullah Saleh, the former intelligence chief, is known for his strong anti-Taliban views.
  • Despite the divisions within, the government had demanded a ceasefire, but the Taliban resisted such demands and emphasised other talking points such as prisoner swaps and the future governance system.
  • As a result, violence continued even as both sides negotiated ways to end the war. Earlier in December, after three months of talks, the Taliban and the government delegation agreed on a set of “rules and procedures” for the talks.
  • But a ceasefire is still elusive.

What is the USA’s role?

  • The Trump administration, in its quest to get out of the war, failed to extract any major compromise from the Taliban when it rolled out the peace process.
  • The insurgents, who control most of the countryside, are already upbeat.
  • The next American administration should carry out an honest review of the entire peace process and push the Taliban to make concessions.


  • The talks are vital to finding a lasting solution to the conflict. But it should not be on the Taliban’s terms, which could erase whatever little progress Afghanistan has made since the fall of the Taliban.

Source: TH


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