Will Afghan Peace Deal Be Sustainable?

Being optimist, I also praise the Afghan peace agreement signed on 29 February 2020 in Doha, the capital of Qatar, between the US officials and Taliban which is aimed at ending the United States’ longest war, fought in Afghanistan since 2001. The signing ceremony was attended by the representatives from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, which will pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops in a period of 14 months.

Instability in Afghanistan was a major hurdle in the peace, stability, and prosperity of the whole region. The regional nations, especially the neighboring countries were very much desired peace and stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan was a country, which suffered for 4 decades due to the situation in Afghanistan. The net loss of 8000 precious lives, an estimated economic loss worth 250 Billion US dollars was in addition to political and social damage to Pakistan. Drug culture, Gun culture, and terrorism were the gifts of Afghan unrest. Pakistan will be the first country wishing peace in Afghanistan.

Kabul bombing
Afghan security personnel gather at the site of bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, February 26, 2020

For the signing of the Afghan Peace deal, credits go to President Trump, as the previous administration of President Obama, in spite of efforts could not manage to reach such a peace deal. The deal may benefit him in the presidential elections to be held in November 2020. On the other hand, it paves ways to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan with dignity, without losing face. The US spent two decades, trillion dollars, 46-nations allied forces up to 200,000, but could not gain control over a single inch of Afghanistan. The public in the US was asking accountability for their tax money and achievements in Afghanistan. There was huge pressure on the US administration. The peace deal will save any further loss to the US and will also serve for face-saving purposes politically.

Is this peace deal a permanent solution for Afghanistan? Will there be perfect peace in Afghanistan? Will a common man get relief? Will this deal have any positive impact on the region, especially in terms of stability and prosperity? Many more similar questions come into our minds.

It is good to be optimistic, but also need to be realistic too. I think the deal lacks many vital components, like the share of the Taliban. Taliban who fought for 2 decades and controls most of Afghanistan, and who is an actual pillar of power in Afghanistan, were undermined and given less share. The Current Afghan Government of Ashraf Ghani or previous Hamid Karzai, which were backed by the US, funded heavily, supported out of the way, were failed to control any part of Afghanistan, were given more than due share, is unjustified.

Taliban fighters
Afghan Taliban fighters and villagers celebrate the peace deal signed between US and Taliban

It was the US’s desire to give India a role in Afghanistan, while India has no border with Afghanistan, no cultural, language, or religious link with Afghanis, having no common interests or historical linkages, may not be able to deal with Afghanistan. Indian Foreign Minister is in Kabul recently, is out of context. In fact, Pakistan, shares, rivers, mountains, borders, religion, culture, language, history and traditions, are kept apart. Pakistan was approached only for bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, and Pakistan did it very well.

Regional stakeholders, like Iran, Tajikistan, China, Russia, Pakistan, and other central Asian countries were not taken on board. The stakeholders were supposed to be taken into confidence and given a role or ownership for implementation, for a sustainable solution.

It seems, President Trump, was interested to use it during his election campaign and withdraw its troops without losing face only. He might achieve both goals. But the peace in Afghanistan is still rather far away. The first set back is appearing the release of Taliban prisoner, which is part of the peace deal but denied by the Afghan Government of Ashraf Ghani. More issues are expected to appear soon. Afghan Government was fighting against the Taliban for almost 2 decades, and hate between them was at a peak, how to reconcile with them is rather an uphill task. Taliban cannot accept the upper hand of the Afghan Government which was only backed by the US. Taliban has sacrificed a lot and expect an appropriate return of their struggle and sacrifices.

There are foreign elements in Afghanistan, who may also sabotage Afghan-Peace, as it suits them an unstable Afghanistan, where they can exploit the situation in their own interests, like Israel and India.

We wish a sustainable peace for Afghanistan. They have suffered for 4 decades that should reach to an end. Our best wishes are for the people of Afghanistan only.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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