Doha Agreement, In the last article (https://thesikkimtoday.com/2021/08/02/usa-taliban-a-historical-background/#respond) we discussed the historical background of the USA – Taliban Conflict. In this article, we will be discussing the peace process and its features along with its criticisms.
- After months of negotiations U.S. officials and Taliban representatives had signed a final peace deal in Qatar’s capital. To end the US’s longest war, fought in Afghanistan. The agreement signed in Doha in the presence of leaders from Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
- With this, it has paved the way for the United States to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
PROVISIONS OF THE DEAL:
- Troops Withdrawal: The US will draw down to 8600 troops in 135 days and NATO or coalition troop numbers also brought down, proportionately and simultaneously. And all the troops will be out thin 14 months including “non-diplomatic civilian personnel” or “intelligence” personnel.
- Taliban Commitment: Taliban’s main counter-terrorism commitment is that it will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including Al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the US and its allies. The pact is silent on other terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba or Jaish-e-Mohammed. India, not being a US ally is not covered under this pact.
- Sanctions Removal: UN sanctions on Taliban leaders to be removed by 3 months and US sanctions by 27 August 2020.
- The pact says up to 5000 imprisoned Taliban and up to 1000 prisoners from “the other side” held by Taliban “will be released”.
- The joint declaration says the US will facilitate discussion with Taliban representatives on confidence-building measures. This including determining the feasibility of releasing significant numbers of prisoners on both sides.
FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR DEAL:
- War Fatigue: Long drawn out inconclusive war which US along with NATO partners have been fighting in the last 2 decades. The US had war fatigue due to the endless war since 2001.
- Financial Aspect: That brings the total cost, based on official data to $822 billion since the war began in 2001. It however doesn’t include any spending in Pakistan, which the US uses as a base for Afghan-related operations.
- Huge War Causalities: Since the war against the Taliban began in 2001, US forces have suffered more than 2300 deaths. Further, around 20,660 soldiers injured in action.
- Public Pressure: The US citizens don’t want any more wars further and there is huge pressure to disengage from wars.
- Political Promise: US President Donald Trump in 2016 election promised to draw a peace pact and bring US soldiers home.
CRITICISMS OF THE DEAL:
- Side-Lining Afghan Government: The fundamental issue with the US’s Taliban engagement is that it deliberately excluded the Afghan government because the insurgents do not see the government as legitimate rulers. By giving in to the Taliban’s demand, the US has practically called into question the legitimacy of the government it backs.
- Concessions to Taliban: Second, the US has made several concessions to the Taliban in the agreement. The Taliban was not pressed enough to declare a ceasefire. Both sides settled for a 7-day reduction of violence period before signing the deal. The US with some 14000 troops in Afghanistan, has committed to pulling them out in a phased manner. In return for the Taliban’s assurances that it would sever ties with other terrorist groups and start talks with the Kabul government.
- Human Rights: Taliban well known for strict religious laws. Such as banishing women from public life, shutting down schools and unleashing systematic discrimination on religious and ethnic minorities. It has not made any promises on whether it would respect civil liberties or accept the Afghan Constitution. Shifting the Power to Taliban: The US withdrawal will invariably weaken the Kabul government, altering the balance of power both on the battlefield and at negotiating table. A weakened government will have to talk with a resurgent Taliban in Doha agreement. The US, in a desperate bid, to exit the Afghan war has practically abandoned the Kabul government and millions of Afghans who do not support the Taliban’s violent, tribal Islamism, to the mercy of insurgents.
An independent, sovereign, democratic, pluralistic and inclusive Afghanistan is crucial for peace and stability in the region. To ensure this:
- The Afghan peace process means Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
- Also, there is a need for the global community to fight against the global concern of terrorism. In this context, it is high time to adopt the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (proposed by India at UN in 1996).
Though the deal Doha Agreement is a good step, the road ahead would not be easy. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require patience and compromise among all parties.