- Recently, USA signed a deal (at Qatar’s capital-Doha) with the Taliban. It will pave the way towards a complete withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan over the subsequent 14 months. Consequently, this represents a step towards ending the 18-year-war in Afghanistan. Besides, a separate joint declaration also signed between the Afghan government and the US at Kabul.
- Further, the peace deal is predict to kick off two processes- a phased withdrawal of troops and an ‘intra-Afghan’ dialogue. The deal may be a fundamental step to deliver a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. Therefore the future political roadmap for Afghanistan social process and the Central region.
In this article, we are going to discuss how this all started.
WHO IS THE TALIBAN?
- The Taliban, “students” in the Pashto language, emerged in the early 1990s, in northern Pakistan. Surfaced following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. The Pashtun movement predominantly first appeared in religious seminaries. Mostly purchased by money from Saudi Arabia which preached a hardline sort of Sunni Islam.
- Taliban’s promise, in Pashtun areas straddling Pakistan and Afghanistan – was to revive peace and security. Also, to enforce their own austere version of Sharia, or Islamic law, once in power.
- From south-western Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly extended their influence. In September 1995 they captured the province of Herat, bordering Iran. Exactly one year later they captured the Afghan capital, Kabul, overthrowing the regime of President Burhanuddin Rabbani. One among the founding fathers of the Afghan mujahideen that resisted the Soviet occupation. By 1998, the Taliban were on top of things of just about 90% of Afghanistan.
HOW DID THE CONFLICT START?
- On 11 September 2001, terrorist attacks in America killed nearly 3,000 people. Osama Bin Laden, the head of Islamist terror group al-Qaeda, identified as the man responsible. The Taliban, radical Islamists who ran Afghanistan at that time, protected Bin Laden, refused to hand him over.
- A month after 9/11, the US launched airstrikes against Afghanistan. The US joined by an international coalition and quickly removed the Taliban from power. However, they turned into an insurgent force and continued deadly attacks, destabilizing subsequent Afghan governments. Since then, the US is fighting a war against the Taliban.
- India and the Taliban share a bitter history. IC-814 hijack in 1999 (India’s passenger plane once hijacked and brought to Kandahar in Afghanistan. Under the control of them) made India to release terrorists — including Maulana Masood Azhar.
- Masood founded Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out terror attacks on Parliament (2001), in Pathankot (2016) and in Pulwama (2019). Also, the Taliban perceived India as a hostile country, as India had supported the anti-Taliban force after the 9/11 attacks.
- Significantly, India never extended diplomatic and official recognition to the Taliban when it had been in power during 1996-2001.
- However, as their role in the Afghan peace process becomes inevitable, India started to make some strides. Earlier, India was a part of the Moscow-led talks with the Taliban in November 2018. The two former Indian diplomats attended as “non-official representatives”.
- India is now moving to diplomatically engage with the Taliban. India’s presence at the agreement-signing ceremony is that the first sign of a possible diplomatic opening.
In the next article, we will be discussing the peace process in detail with features and challenges.
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