About Author:

Mr. Abdul Samad Katawazy is former Adviser to Adam Smith International and Sr.Researcher at American University of Afghanistan. Katawazy currently a Student of International Development Studies at York University, Toronto

Katawazy is a published writer. You can follow him on twitter @askatawazy

Photo Credit: Taliban, Afghan envoys meet for talks in Moscow – ABC News

It is always great to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty but I am not quite optimistic about the Taliban peace deal. Correlation does not always imply causation; there is no doubt that Taliban are not irrelevant and important element in the ongoing war in Afghanistan but the question here I would ask is Are Taliban the cause? Afghanistan has long been frustrated with Pakistan’s persistent acquiescence to safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and its vicious Haqqani branch in Pakistan (both of which benefit more from miss-governance in Afghanistan, but Pakistan’s aid helps a lot). Worse yet, Pakistan has provided direct military and intelligence aid to both groups, resulting in the deaths of  ANSF, targeted killing of officials and US soldiers, Afghan security personnel, and civilians, plus significant destabilization of Afghanistan.

Pakistan the Taliban’s God Father
Why eliminating Taliban would not end the war in Afghanistan Taliban delegation who flew to UAE for peace talks using Pak army military planes under the supervision of Pakistan have been long  dependent on Pakistan for

  • Military, financial, logistical and receiving intelligence support from Pakistan.
  • Taliban and families on the other hand have been living in Pakistan for a decade which is another reason to stay loyal to Pakistan over Afghanistan for personal and family’s safety.
  • Musharraf has publicly said that “India should remain out” of Afghanistan, which Pakistan sees as its area of influence. He also warned that even if U.S. forces depart after a negotiated settlement with the Taliban, India and Pakistan would likely move in by supporting rival factions in Afghanistan. Which is why eliminating Taliban may not end the war but rather make it more complicated?
  • It’s an open secret that elements within Pakistan’s military and political establishment provided bin Laden’s location and perhaps even helped him to safe haven in the years after the United States launched its invasion of Afghanistan and global war against al-Qaeda and most probably he was kept to leverage any future dealings with USA.

Is America Loosing a war in Afghanistan

Pakistan has long awaited the withdrawal of American soldiers from Afghanistan. Pakistan who impatiently applauded Trump decision of pulling out 7000 troops Did they see it as a victory? Afghanistan which is a “Strategic Pivot” in the greater interest of US. With six nations bordering Afghanistan each contains specific geo-political and socio-economic impact upon the US market. Therefore this so called withdrawal of 7000 troops will be hogwash; more like making us play the blind man buff when we already are no better than the ostriches with our heads entrenched in the sand dunes. There for one would argue that it would be better to deal with the problem rather than running from the problem.

Trump administration is making the biggest mistake by pulling out from Afghanistan: this is making ground to lose a war so close to winning. Also; it won’t serve justice to all those lives lost in Afghanistan and tax payers billions of dollars already spent there.  Diplomacy has worked in bringing conflicts to end but to win the war in Afghanistan US must identify the enemy and more importantly give ownership of the peace talks to Afghan government. Simply labeling Taliban as the enemy or getting rid of the Taliban will not put a permanent end to the war unless the US strikes safe heavens of the Taliban and coming to a conclusion with Pakistan is also very important. However, a political solution with Pakistan in putting an end to Afghan war will put the US on the weaker end and it will be a big blow to the credibility of US as a strong power yet that will be only a temporary solution which may be leveraged by Pakistan when required. Therefore if Trump administration wants results must change their policy and act upon it rather than publicly criticizing the war in Afghanistan which is moving the bilateral relations of the two nationals supposed to be allies in new directions.

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