Descending Afghanistan into further political and security chaos

While pushing for kicking off the intra-Afghan peace negotiation, the Afghan media reported that around 600 Afghan security forces have been killed and injured in the last three weeks. President Ghani in his latest press briefing informed that since the peace agreement signed between the US and the Taliban, Afghanistan suffered close to 11,000 casualties of security forces and civilians.Mr. Zulmai Khalilzad in his recent tweet “The last 24 hours have been very violent in Afghanistan with many losing their lives” The sooner intra-Afghan dialogue starts the better it would be to reduce the violence. Both Taliban and the Afghan government have exchanged the release of prisoners but still, the intra-Afghan negotiation is far from taking place. The Afghan government has so far released more than 4500 Taliban inmates and the Taliban on the other hand has released more than 900 prisoners. One of the main points in the US-Taliban agreement was the release of 5000 Taliban prisoners. The Taliban have been reiterating that they will not participatein intra-Afgandialogue until their demands for the overall release of their inmates are not met. The deadlock for the commencement of the intra-Afghan dialogue is the release of around 600 remainingin Taliban prisoners. The release of remaining Taliban prisoners, lack of political consensus among the Afghan government, and Trump Administration’s rushed peace are among the hurdles that are preventing intra-Afghan dialogue and in the long run establishing peace in Afghanistan.
The Afghan government has serious concern about the release of the remaining around 600 Taliban prisoners. Instead, the Afghan government has asked the Taliban to come up with the new list of the prisoners. The Taliban have been insisting on the release of their remaining inmates to start the intra-Afghan dialogue. According to Suhail Shahee the Taliban spokesperson in Qatar,” The Islamic Emirate is ready to release all remaining prisoners of the other side before the eve of Eid al-Adha provided they release our prisoners as per our list already delivered to them. Likely, IEA is ready to begin intra-Afghan negotiations immediately after Eid” This tweet shows the persistent insistence of the Taliban on the release of their inmates. On the other hand, the newly appointed Afghan deputy defense minister has said that the released Taliban fighters are joining theirfellow fighters on the battlefields. The recent surge in violence by the Taliban in which hundreds of security forces and civilians have been targeted by the Taliban approve this claim. Amid the prisoners’ exchange, the Taliban once again showed that they have no change in their stancenor t have theyadopted to respect the minorities in particular women’s rights. The Taliban fighters last week abduct Ms. Fatima Faizia female staff of the ministry of interior in Ghazni province who was on the way to her home. The Taliban after week captivity brutally killed the lady police officer. This vicious act of the Taliban once again alarms the concern that the Taliban are firm in establishing their strict Shariah law based on the Wahabi belief in which they have no mercy on hostages, women, childer, and the elderly. This move of the Taliban raises concerns on the US-Taliban deal.The Taliban did not respectits promise in reducing the violence and pave the ground for permanent peace. The Taliban continued violence also forced the non-Muslim minority Sikhs to leave the country. According to the report by Tolo news famous private TV channel, the Indian embassy issuedan immigrant visa to a group of nine Afghan Sikhs. .Afghan political figures, civil society representatives, and the international community have been raising their concerns about compromising the achievement of the last two decades under the auspices peace process which include current democratic regime, social and liberal rights of women, and minorities.
The other hindrance to the intra-Afghan dialogue is the rift between Doctor Abdullah and Mohammad Ashraf Ghani. It has been over two months that a political agreement was achieved between Abdullah and President Ghani. But the political stalemate over the division of ministries remains a challenge in which the Taliban are taking advantage of power vacuum enhancing their unconventional tactical guerilla war of undermining the security apparatus of the fragile administration in Kabul. Dr. Abdallah has not been able to finalize the structure of the High Council for National Reconciliation. So, the concerns over power-sharing have affected the administration’s ability to come up with the Afghan government list for participating in the intra-Afghan dialogue.
The current pollical development in the region further reveals that the current peace process underway in Afghanistan has turned into “proxy peace” in which apart from Afghans, regionaland international powers have more stakes in deciding the prospect for peace. The recent China-Iran strategic agreement conforms to that. Iran in the extreme political, economic uncertainty is bandwagoning with China to leverage political and economic support in the long run, to be able to assert its influence in the region through its proxies. In an interview in Kabul, Iran’s deputy foreign minister expressed that his government is against the American presence in Afghanistan. Moreover, the Taliban Qatar office has been very active ever since they got the office, they have been meeting the Russian, Pakistani and Iranian dignitaries to garner their support and accomplice in implementing their strategy for protracted unrest in Afghanistan. For China, this agreement is what Mr. Graham T Allision America political scientist called it the “Thucydides’s Trap” describes an apparent tendency towards war when China is appearing as an emerging power threatening United States’s hegemony in the Asia and potentially the globe soon.
With all the political development in the region and efforts underway for lasting peace in Afghanistan, what is concerning is that after all, these efforts have been leading to more violence in Afghanistan in which Afghans are the victim. Ambassador Khalilzad’s comment in the recent event of the United States Institute for Peace, rest assured that US withdrawal from Afghanistan will be based on the improvement of the condition in Afghanistan is against what the US has agreedwith the Taliban to withdraw forces from Afghanistan in 14 months. The US forces have already vacated five military bases in Afghanistan. Mullah Baradar in his recent interview to Tasneem the Iranian media, warn that if the United States does not withdraw its forces within 14 months timeline agreed in the US-Taliban agreement, they will take necessary decisions to respond. Provided all these scenarios, what is important for the Trump administration is the fulfillment of a promise to end the war in Afghanistan and bring back the boots home before the election 2020 to enhance vote bank.But the rushed peace initiative led by Trump Administration is putting the democratic regime in Kabul at risk and the concerns of terrorist harboring in Afghanistan are soaring once again which may endanger the security of the United States and the globe.

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