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Afghan Peace Process and the Biden Administration

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Finally, the US election ended with Joe Biden’s victory. As predicted, Joe Biden will undo many of Trump’s actions related to foreign policy, such as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, declining the Iran nuclear deal, and possibly making the Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban. I have pinpointed in my last article published in the Financial Daily on November 1st, that the Doha agreement is the main obstacle to initiate the intra-Afghan peace process. Because the Doha agreement completely ignored the Afghan government as the main strategic partner gave the Taliban political concession and granted the Taliban more pretext to continue violence and not bow down to the negotiation. President-elect Joe Biden should review the Doha agreement, and in the first instance, should ask the Taliban to agree to the “ceasefire” as it does not allow the trust to prevail between the members of the intra-Afghan negotiation teams. Moreover, I well-come Mr. Biden’s policy of remaining with the small scale of a few hundred special forces and intelligence assets to support the local partners against the common enemy.
Former Trump’s administration National Security Advisor H.R.McMaster in his recent interview with Hard Talk BBC, approved my points articulated in my last article. Mr. McMaster stated that “Afghanistan is the failure of Trump’s foreign policy” The Doha agreement’s success can further be gaged with the total failure of the intra-Afghan negotiation process. McMaster stated that ” We have given troops withdrawal such priority that we became accomplices with the Taliban against the Afghan government” That is so true, the Strategic Partnership Agreement 2012, along with the Bilateral Security Agreement in 201, reaffirms that Afghanistan and the United States are committed to working until 2024. These commitments include protecting and promoting shared democratic values, advancing long-term security, and reinforcing regional security and cooperation, social and economic development, and strengthening Afghan institutions and governance. The Trump administration rushed the Doha agreement for the sake of Trump’s reelection, thus ignoring strategic partners and their importance. McMaster further stated that” what we see in Afghanistan is the human catastrophe, and we may return to the situation where the Taliban and other Jihadi groups take control of areas and narcotics trade and may become a caveat for the security of the globe.” The recent news about drawing down the numbers of troops from 4500 to 2500 by the Pentagon is once again alarming. Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the US Senate, has warned of rapid US troop withdrawal. He further warned that the rapid withdrawal will create a vacuum that will be filled by the US conventional enemies such as Iran, Russia, and other terrorist groups.
Security officials and experts suspect that premature withdrawal will roll back two decades of achievements in Afghanistan. At this critical moment when the Trump administration is in a phase of transition, it should avoid taking immature steps in response to foreign policy issues particularly related to Afghanistan. The strategic issue of peace and security should be left to the sound judgment of the Biden administration. Mr. Joe Bidenpresident-elect in his recent take “Why America Must Lead Again?” emphasized that”As I have long argued, we should bring the vast majority of our troops home from the wars in Afghanistan…using a few hundred Special Forces soldiers and intelligence assets to support local partners against a common enemy. Those smaller-scale missions are sustainable militarily, economically, and politically, and they advance the national interest” The decision to keep small scale military support is very accurate. Afghans have a natural hatred against the presence of foreign forces that have been proven throughout history. I recommend that the Biden Administration should continue to support economically the Afghan security forces otherwise, the two decades’ achievements will all be in vain similar to the situation when USSR left Afghanistan, and Dr. Najib’s government despite powerful army fell apart because of the lack of economic support from Russia.
The Doha agreement further boosted the Taliban’s political and military morale. The Taliban have been using the Doha agreement as a triumph and therefore demand to base the Doha agreement as to the basis of intra-Afghan negotiation. This means the Taliban are looking for more concessions when it comes to intra-Afghan negotiations. Additionally, the Taliban have enhanced their military maneuvers to have upper hands in intra-Afghan negotiations. However, the Taliban and their brutal terrorist attacks against the Afghan civilians and security forces have revealed their objectives that they are not honest to their promises. According to the Afghan ministry of defense and interiors, most of the released Taliban inmates have returned to the battlegrounds which are against the spirit of the Doha agreement. Moreover, the political legitimacy the Taliban gained through the Doha agreement is overshadowed by the Taliban’s continued violence. Andreas Von Brandt, a member of the European Union, recently stated that had the Taliban brought a reduction in violence, the group could have had a spot at the upcoming Geneva convention regarding Afghanistan. Given the increased violence by the Taliban, the Biden administration should seriously review the Doha agreement and hold the Taliban accountable for the violation of the Doha agreement. This strategy would rejuvenate the relationship between the US and its crucial strategic allies.
Given the Trumps’ rushed peace initiatives in Afghanistan and rapid troops withdrawal have increased the risk for Afghanistan to relapse to pre-nine eleven eras. The rift within the Trump administration, and between the U.S. and NATO allies over the rapid withdrawal of troops, is a clear indication of the wrong foreign policy carried by Mr. Trump. The Taliban’s commitment over the continued violence has denied the group political legitimacy and may trigger newly elected president Joe Biden’s review of the Doha agreement. The Biden administration has to revive its foreign policy related to Afghanistan, consider strategic allies, and their important roles, pledge economic support to the Afghan government in the event of troops withdrawal to safeguard the achievements made in the last two decades and protect the liberal order in Asia which will guarantee the US to lead.