U.S Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan/ Taliban Peace Agreement a Political Deception
Dr. Hasan Yaser Malik
1. Peace Agreement Ultimately with the efforts of various stake holders, after 19 years of US Afghan War and 18 months of negotiations 'U.S - Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan/Taliban Peace Agreement' was singed on 29 February 2020 at Doha. The agreement rests on peace in Afghanistan and withdrawal of U.S and its NATO allies troops from Afghanistan. Cardinal facets of the agreement signed between U.S and Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (not are mentioned below (Lindsay, 2020):
1.1. Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA)/ Taliban will prevent any group, individual including Al Qa'ida from using Afghan soil to threaten the security of U.S and its NATO allies.
1.2. U.S and its NATO allies will refrain from threat or use of force against the territorial recognised by U.S and known as Taliban)/Taliban independency or political independence of Afghanistan or intervening in domestic affairs.
1.3. Permanent and a comprehensive cease fire all across the Afghanistan and between all factions.
1.4. IEA/Taliban will start Intra Afghan dialogue and negotiations by 10 March 2020 for prudent and pragmatic follow up of the peace agreement.
1.5. Area under control of both parties will remain under their control until the formation of new post settlement Afghan Islamic Government as determined by Intra Afghan dialogue and negotiations. Peace Agreement U.S Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan/ Taliban Peace Agreement a Political Deception.
1.6. U.S will request for recognition of the agreement to United Nation Security Council.
1.7. U.S will seek economic cooperation and reconstruction of Afghanistan. This clause implies that the U.S intends to keep its presence in Afghanistan as it wants to maintain its influence in one form or another (Yaser, 2015).
1.8. Various time lines pertaining to the peace agreement are appended below:
1.8.1. In first 135 days the number of U.S troops will be reduced down to 8500 from five bases.
1.8.2. Complete withdrawal of foreign forces will be completed within 14 months from the date of singing the agreement.
1.8.3. Release of 5000 IEA/Taliban and 1000 U.S military and political prisoners by 10 Mar 2020 and rest will be completed within three months.
1.8.4. Removal of sanctions from Afghanistan by 27 August 2020 with start of Intra Afghan dialogue and negotiations (IAN).
2. Challenges to Peace Agreement. Although the peace agreement has been singed however it is appreciated that due to various internal and external facets this agreement will be subject to many challenges; a few of which are mentioned below:
2.1. Integration among all the ethno-political factions appears to be a difficult proposition hence it will be demanding to adopt a power sharing formula, disarming and reintegrating of all Afghan cliques.
2.2. Ashraf Ghani (Independent) and Abdullah Abdullah (National Coalition) have contested presidential election on 28 Sep 2019. As per the delayed result announced 18 Feb 2020; total 1.8 million votes were casted out of 9 million. Ashraf Ghani won 50.64 and Abdullah Abdullah 39.52 per cent. It was surprising that both took presidential oath at separate ceremonies on 9 Mar 2020. All this in combination of delay of election and result announcement have added to suspicions about U.S dominant role. This mistrust is likely to damage the peace agreement.
2.3. Presently Afghan government controls only about 40 per cent of the area that too mostly in central Afghanistan, however Talibans mostly controlling the periphery are better linked to neighbouring countries. Hence it seems in future once the U.S troops would reduce the Afghan government will lose more territory thus making the peace agreement more fragile.
2.4. Pakistan would like to have Talibans as part of Afghan Government; hence it can affect the much needed pragmatic and a prudent outcome of Intra Afghan Dialogue.
2.5. India has invested $ U.S 3 billion in Afghanistan mainly for infrastructural development however most of Indian efforts have used against Pakistan. Since the conclusion of the peace agreement India is feeling outnumbered and the increasing Pakistani influence in Afghanistan is further frustrating India, hence it is appreciated that India will do its best to damage the peace agreement.
2.6. Iran may not like the domination of Sunni Talibans in Afghanistan Government however it has acknowledged the agreement and is likely to continue maintaining some power in Afghanistan, which can harm the peace agreement.
2.7. Russia has tried to take a leading role in negotiations to finalize this peace agreement with a view to increase its influence in Afghanistan against U.S. In order to counter the U.S and NATO pressure, Russia is likely to support the peace agreement until U.S troops are reduced and later will increase efforts to enhance its influence hence possibly diminishing the peace agreement clauses
2.8. China wants to have peace in Afghanistan due to a few reasons, firstly; it wants to secure its investments and wants to make use of Afghan natural resources. Secondly; peace in the region will prove to be more prudent for Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC, thirdly; it will reduce Chinese concerns about likely terrorist extension or foot hold in China.
2.9. Afghanistan is a war ravaged countries hence will have to depend on International Aid. However the distribution of aid can affect any unity among the various ethnic and political Afghan factions.
2.10. Al Qa'ida has been supported by the U.S to influence the Chinese trade, hence making IEA/Talibans responsible for its peaceful behaviour is strange (Yaser, 2016).
2.11. It is not in nature of Afghans and their blood to accept any foreign authority in their homeland. Unlike many countries in the world Centre of Gravity of Afghan lies in their tribal system. History bears witness. Accept for their national cause against a foreign authority, they unite till the time foreign authority is ousted. Afghans have never historically compromised on principles and standards with regard to any intruder occupying their homeland. Thereafter they all are back into their rligo-political based tribal thoughts to dominate each other.
2.12. U.S has no interest in Afghanistan, main theme of 20 years U.S-Afghan War was to occupy a suitable space, establish extremely secure and state of art air base which can logistically be supported for all type of U.S.Bagram Base was established over a prolonged period of 10 to 12 years with multi lawyered defence system; against ground and air attacks, which suitably dominates Chinese designs. It is the most implacable and suitable strategic air base which US cannot repeat cannot afford to vacate. The base has sufficient accommodation inside for 10 to 12000 troops. If Taliban are realistically interested to get their mother land evacuated they have to destroy Bagram Base effectively, otherwise US will not leave.
2.13. Why Zalmay Khalilzad singed the peace agreement on the U.S side. To make it more pragmatic it should have been signed by a Christian American, most importantly the peace agreement has not been ratified by the US Congress, hence is subject to cancellation as it U.S broke the deal with Iran. This way U.S being a super power will have an excuse to cancel this agreement any time.
2.14. Use of word 'pose' in a clause for provision of security to U.S and its NATO allies; where it reads that IEA/Talibans will prevent any organisation or individual who even poses to threaten the U.S and its allies is ambiguous which can cause distrust between the stakeholders hence damaging the peace agreement.
2.15. Concluding an agreement with IEA/Talibans and making them responsible for the peaceful behaviour of U.S supported Al Qa'ida makes this agreement dubious.
2.16. Implementation of the peace agreement is facing lot of difficulties to move forward, the hitch was created by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who denied to resale 1000 IEA/Taliban prisoners on 1st Mar 2020; only 48 hours after the peace agreement was signed (Newsmax, 2020). President Ashraf Ghani apparently did this to have his leverage as he was not part of the peace agreement. Such incidents and influences can be detrimental for the peace agreement.
3. Conclusion Considering the details of the agreement, possible Challenges, political scenario in U.S. and global geopolitics it appears that the agreement will be followed more prudently until U.S General Elections on 3 November 2020. It will be pragmatic for Pakistan to gain maximum diplo-economic objectives in this time period.
Hasan Yaser Malik, (2015), Stability in Afghanistan through employment of Regional Development Forces led by Chinese under UN ambit, Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies ISSN 2224-2716, Volume 3, Number 3, spring 2015, P. 61.
Hasan Yaser Malik, (2016), Possible ISIS Influence on Chinese Trade Link, Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies ISSN 2224-2716, Volume 4, Number 3, spring 2016, P. 43.
Newsmax, Afghan Peace Deal Hits First Sang over P r i s o n e r R e l e a s e , r e t r i e v e d f r o m . https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/ashrafghani -refuses-release-taliban/2020/03/01/id/956375/. Accessed on 26 Mar 2020.
Lindsay Maziland, (2020), U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal: What to Know, 2 mar 2020, retrieved from. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/us-talibanpeace-deal-agreement-afghanistan-war. Accessed on 25 Mar 2020.
Dr. Hasan Yaser Malik holds Master Degrees in English, International Relations, Warfare Studies and Special Education. He did Ph.D. in International Relations, his thesis is titled as ‘Strategic Significance of Gwadar Deep Sea Port: Regional and extra regional dimensions’. The author has a few International Research Contributions to his credit and has hundreds of readers. He is associated with various research and academic institutions and is also an editorial team member with a few International Research Journals. Author has served as a part of United Nations in African Peninsula and has earned a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’. As part of corporate experience, he has led various projects of social and business development. Presently, he is pursuing to study International Law. Apart from research, he has interest in Flying and Deep Sea Diving and has visited Africa and Europe. He can be contacted at email@example.com.