Sunday September 26, 2021

An uncertain future

July 24, 2021

The withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan under the February 2020 agreement is flawed on several counts. Initially, the deal was signed between the Taliban and the US in the absence of stakeholders from the Afghanistan government. Such unilateral actions by the US diminished the little leverage Pakistan and other players had on the Taliban. It further encouraged them to stick to the American part of the deal, irrespective of the situation on the ground. So far, the negotiations between the Taliban and Kabul made no headway despite the lapse of one year.

Under the existing circumstances, the Taliban are highly unlikely to retreat – keeping in view the fact that more than 80 percent of Afghan districts are under Taliban control. If the US was interested in a responsible and dignified exit, it could have forced the Afghanistan government to participate in the Doha peace talks by threatening to stop economic and military assistance that the country has been receiving. Instead of finding an exit for itself first, the US should have pressed the Taliban and the Afghanistan government to negotiate a settlement.

Rahman Rasheed