A Peace Deal or Withdrawal Deal?

President of the United States, Donald Trump in Afghanistan

America should think back so as to keep away from another 9/11 sort of attack and preserve the 18-year democratic achievements with the assistance of recently elected government.

9 /11 attack on America paved the way for her intervention and demolition of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001. American president announced a global war on terror through the justification of defensive just war and Further reinforced by all the major powers. Taliban being sole power from 1996—2001 once again emerged as rebels and began its insurgency in 2003 when US military concentration was divided into two prones, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Taliban being subject to Pakistan’s strategic depth policy in the 1990s was again backed by Pakistan militarily, politically and economically to take revenge from the US who fluctuated all the Pakistan oriented policies and for extension of the global war on terror to the stuck US in Afghanistan.

When Trump came to power, he announced the south Asian policy which mainly focused on ending the US longest war in Afghanistan. According to these claims, Trump administration began the peace process with the Taliban in February 2019 which was dependent upon the following four points.

Foreign troop’s withdrawal

Intra-Afghan dialogue

Ceasefire

Afghan soil would not be used against the US

Trump in Afghanistan
President of the United States, Donald Trump in Afghanistan

In the initial rounds, the Afghan government was unconscious of the dialogue and even unaware of any advancement of the peace process. Yet the Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Muhib shook the entire peace process by criticizing Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative, for uninforming and bypassing Afghan government which restricted both his official and unofficial entry to America. Nine rounds have been completed and still, both US and Taliban are unable to ascertain the result. The recent resumption of the peace process, which was called off by Trump, has again developed the expectations in Afghanistan.

There are different discernments about the peace process in Afghanistan. Most of the individuals imagine that the United States on accomplishing its deal with Taliban may leave Afghans and rehash the history of the 1990s when the US vanquished its cold war rival putting the gun on Afghan shoulders and left them vulnerable to descend to civil war with its neighbours’ interference. Moreover, Trump also wants to return his forces back in order to find a campaign card for his upcoming elections. These declarations could further be forged by the speedy visits of Zalmay Khalilzad everywhere throughout the world about the peace process. On the other hand, some contrasting rumours are also revolving that the United States spending about trillion dollars in Afghanistan for reconstruction and instalment of Islamic democratic government could never leave Afghanistan to return to conservatism and extremism and the US could never reverse the 18 years achievements of democracy.  

Challenges to the newly elected government

Ashraf Ghani re elected
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

For the most part, individuals in Afghanistan anticipated about the interim government and perceived that elections may not occur yet at the same time Afghan government held elections on 28th September 2019 in the interlude of Trump cancellation of the peace process. Taliban also cautioned afghan individuals not to take part in the election. More than 9.7 million individuals did their enrollment yet just 2 million casts the ballot because of Taliban threats.  Now recently the preliminary results of Afghan elections have announced which has considered the incumbent president  Dr Ashraf Ghani as the leading candidate of having majority vote of 50.64%.

There would be numerous challenges to the recently elected president which will be hard to defeat effectively. The very first and definitive test would be intra- afghan dialogue in the event that the US and Taliban came to an arrangement. The procrastination of elections results were viewed as that it may be because of the uncertainty of a deal among Taliban and US yet now after the result of elections it looks in favour of Afghan government since president is chosen and Taliban desire to come Afghanistan would be considered as surrender which would also be the enormous hindrance in intra-Afghan discourse.

In addition, we know the weak Afghan economy which will be another major impediment for the newly elected Afghan government. The Afghan government will need continued financial support after political settlement. According to world bank that afghan government will require $6 billion to $8 billion a year in international grants between 2020 and 2024 to fund basic services and Afghanistan total revenues currently amount to around  $2.5 billion per year, while expenditures reach around $11 billion per year. This huge imbalance could be overcome with some effective economic policies.

Alongside, in the event that the US completely withdrew, there are opportunities that Afghanistan may become the safe haven for terrorists once again and may America or this time any other major power face the 9/11 sort of attack again because, in spite of Taliban, there still present many other terrorist groups in Afghanistan.  I think the newly elected government needs a multi-vector foreign policy since the Afghanistan war and crumbled economy have regional roots. What’s more, these regional states due to convergence of interest in Afghanistan also need a stable Afghanistan and struggle to play a positive role in the Afghan peace process.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Sadam Hussain Zaheer

Sadam Hussain Zaheer, an Afghan student in the school of politics and international relations at Quid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. He can be reached at sadamhussainz338@gmail.com

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