As the eighth round of peace talks between the American and the Taliban delegations kicked off in Doha, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, wrote on his Twitter: “The Taliban are signaling they would like to conclude an agreement. We are ready for a good agreement.” He also added, “We are pursuing a peace agreement, not a withdrawal agreement; a peace agreement that enables withdrawal. Our presence in Afghanistan is conditions-based and any withdrawal will be conditions-based.”
Although, a guarantee that the Afghan soil won’t be used by ‘terrorist groups’ as well as the gradual withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan are the essential parts of the peace agreement between the delegations of two parties, splitting the ‘peace agreement’ from ‘withdrawal agreement’ out of the agenda not only exposes the extreme trickery, deception and illusive diplomacy of the US, but also implicitly speaks of the traps that the US has set for the Taliban along the way. In addition, the detachment of ‘Intra-Afghan dialogue’ and ‘American-led negotiations’ is another severe dilemma on the process because one of the most controversial phases after the US-Taliban agreement will be on how an agreement would have taken place between various Afghan factions.
As one could comprehend that the ‘Intra-Afghan dialogue’ will be mainly arranged for the Taliban in order to get them acknowledge the 18-years Western achievements in Afghanistan, such as the democratic freedoms, secular Afghan constitution, human rights, women’s rights, media freedom and so on. These are the values that the Taliban have not yet appeared to concede. Imagine that if the two parties (Afghan factions and the Taliban representatives) stand firm on their stances after the settlement of US-Taliban peace agreement in response to a comprehensive cease-fire, the about-to-happening stalemates in the process will make the public feel that Americans have done their parts, so they are the Afghans who happen to be sabotaging the peace process in Afghanistan, not the Americans. Subsequently, chances will be that a number of Taliban would abandon their stances in order to help the peace process prevail, as what Hizb-i Islami party did – molting by the political reality of Afghanistan. And a large number of Taliban, emerging as opposition to the process, will keep continuing the war under a similar and/or different title in different parts of Afghanistan.
In addition, after the settlement of agreement, a natural dissatisfaction among the Taliban will be aroused that will obviously lead to a fraction of unity among the Taliban in the long run, and such an internal division will ultimately pave the way for the US to effortlessly withdraw from the agreement. One could perceptibly feel an evident potential of division among the arrays of the Taliban. For instance, as a result of heavy bombardment of civilians by the US and Afghan forces, a substantial gap between the Taliban and the public have been created – making the Taliban fighters lose the trust of rural residents. In addition, conflicts have reportedly been roused between the Taliban fighters and their political leadership in Qatar on how the peace talks with the US must proceed. Similarly, some second-rank Taliban leaders have been noticed in southern provinces calling on the Taliban fighters to ignore the Qatar peace talks and keep continuing the war. Besides, on both sides of the Durand Line, there are accounts of establishing new Taliban fighters to continue the war with the US and the Kabul government.
Although at the time, the Taliban have been speaking of the US withdrawal and the Taliban’s willingness to gain the power, even some political leaders, whose deployment to Afghanistan was caused by the US, have noticed the evil intentions of the US in this process. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been one of the critics of the peace process who recently has said that the peace talks has never been an Afghan-led (under the control of Afghans) process and remarkable measures have been taken to put the process in the hands of the US and Pakistan. “The role of India, Iran and other neighboring countries is important in the peace process, and they must guarantee peace in Afghanistan”, he said adding that, “If the US withdraws, there must be peace in Afghanistan. The US must ensure a responsible withdrawal, and must not allow Pakistan to cause another chaos in Afghanistan.” Such a statement itself implies that, even after the agreement, another war will be certainly underway for which the neighboring countries have to be accountable, not the US.
As a result, the Taliban’s optimism and trust over the US through the ongoing peace talks will be a historical mistake of the Taliban which won’t be rectified anymore. Because the US has constantly withdrawn from many accords throughout its history, it signifies that the US will definitely withdraw from the US-Taliban peace agreement as it did withdraw from the Nuclear Deal with Iran and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. These are some very up-to-dated specimens on how powerful countries such as Russia, the European countries, and Iran failed to prevent the withdrawal of the US from those agreements. So it must be clear that the US has constantly settled agreements, and if the agreement has happened to no longer secure the US interests, the US has effortlessly violated them.
Therefore, the Taliban should not let their destiny fade away only for Trump’s 2020 elections campaign. Consequently, in such a critical situation, the only solution to this dilemma is that the Taliban must immediately suspend the peace talks with the US, and embrace to the Islamic teachings by strengthening Jihad against the occupation and continue their struggle against the colonial occupation until the very last moment. Because only patience and persistence will guarantee victory in such situations. Just as the Soviet Union’s defeat in Afghanistan helped the autocratic Communism to be wiped off the face of the world; likewise, the America’s defeat would definitely put an end to the hegemony of Democracy in the world.
Written by Saifullah Mustanir
Director of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Wilayah Afghanistan