The U.S and Taliban peace deal signed in the absence of the Afghanistan government on the 29th February 2020 in Doha, Qatar has given high leverage to the Taliban. This deal emphasized the withdrawal of the U.S and NATO troops from Afghanistan, a Taliban pledge to cut ties with Al-Qaeda and negotiations between the Taliban and Afghanistan government.
Initially, the Afghans and other stakeholders were optimistic about the U.S and Taliban agreement, expecting a reduction in violence and the Taliban’s enthusiasm to sit on the negotiating table with the Afghan government and politicians in the form of an intra-Afghan dialogue. But, it never happened as it was expected. The violence increased, the 33-weeks long negotiation in Doha seems to have been failed as the Taliban side was never serious to start talks and there are no signs the Taliban have cut their relationship with the international terrorism network including Al-Qaeda.
Since the Afghanistan peace process has its importance to many countries in the world including the regional and neighboring countries to Afghanistan, these countries closely monitored the Afghanistan peace process and remained engaged in it. They have now understood the Taliban in full. They know the Taliban are violent, war-friendly, non-civilized, uneducated, not independent and not united. These understandings have made the international community announce their supports to the Afghanistan government after the foreign troops’ withdrawal.
The Afghanistan government and politicians have also declared their stance against the Taliban military movements and efforts to take over the country by force. However, the Afghanistan government has shown its utmost flexibility towards a political settlement and power-sharing with the Taliban.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in his recent article published on the Political Affairs has shown a conditional willingness towards an interim-government, which itself indicates a great flexibility from the Afghan side.
Now the ball is with the Taliban and the stakeholders are waiting to hear from them. Experts believe that if the Taliban fails to come back with a practical solution, the huge opportunity for ‘peace’ in Afghanistan will be lost and the country can go to a serious war again. Most likely, the Taliban will lose the war as they will have no legitimacy to fight after the foreign forces withdraw. The scene for the Taliban will be much different than the one in the 1990s.
This time the general public and political figures will stand with the Afghan government if President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani can play well and do not repeat the mistake Dr. Najibllah Ahmadzai had made after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan.
In case, negotiations fail and the country goes to another chaos, the neighboring countries including Pakistan and Iran will suffer the most and consequently Europe as well. A huge number of people will flow into Pakistan and Iran and then to Europe which will negatively affect the economies of these countries.
The Taliban will also lose the leverage they have now as their fighters in the front-line will have no religious motive and justification to fight for the leaders who enjoy luxurious lives abroad.