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Taliban play the role of double-standard


The deadlock into the intra-Afghan negotiation has been deepening since the announcement of the Biden Administration of reviewing the U.S.-Taliban agreement. Afghan authorities have recently reported that with the worsening security situation, during the last five months of the commencement of intra-Afghan peace talks over 500 people were killed and injured. The Taliban have enhanced the targeted killing of Afghan security forces, politicians, civil society activists, and journalists. Mr. Amrullah Saleh, the first vice president to Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, has recently tweeted, “We are prepared to prove case by case that every single Talib prisoners (5500 all) we released for peace are in one way or another involved in the escalation of violence & campaign of terror against the people of Afghanistan”. The intra-Afghan negotiations are not moving forward mainly because neither the great powers such as the US and its allies and nor the regional countries such Pakistan and Iran have respected the Afghan-led and owned peace process. The free and autonomous delegation in Qatar can only be able to restore peace in Afghanistan. The Taliban in their recent political maneuver visited Iran and Russia to leverage political support for sustaining the political gains acquired through the U.S.-Taliban agreement.
The Taliban, under the direct guidance of the Pakistani establishment, has been following a two-pronged strategy. The strategy involves first the escalation of violence to force the U.S. to keep up with its promise of withdrawing its forces by May 2021. Second, the Taliban has shifted to diplomacy to leverage political support and pressure the international community to suppress the U.S. from adhering to the U.S.-Taliban agreement. Although the main reason for granting the Taliban an office in Qatar was a confidence-building measure and as a way of providing security for Taliban leaders to participate in talks, finding them a permanent address became a priority. After the Biden administration announced that it would review the U.S.-Taliban agreement, the Taliban never showed up in the intra-Afghan negotiations to discuss the framework for negotiations. Instead, the Taliban focused on diplomacy to ascertain the regional and international consensus that it would tame the Biden administration to stick to the U.S.-Taliban agreement. The Taliban visited the two important countries of Iran and Russia.
The Taliban under the Trump administration gained too much political concession that further made the terrorist Taliban arrogant and overconfident with triumph through violence. The Taliban are indeed part of the conflict in Afghanistan. But they are not part of the whole conflict. The consequence of too much political concession to the Taliban is that the Taliban never took the Intra-Afghan negotiations seriously and that they never reduced violence. The Taliban further leveraged international political support through their office in Qatar. With the recent visit to Iran, the Taliban on one hand threatens the US that it will seek Iran’s support in prolonging their military support if the US withdraws from the Qatar agreement. On the other hand, the Irani government uses the Taliban as a menace to warn the US to rejoin U.S-Iran nuclear deal. The irony is that it was not very long before the Taliban were invited to Iran when Jawad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, declared the Taliban a terrorist group in his interview with Tolonews TV, an Afghan private news channel.
The Taliban visit to Russia is part of diplomatic manure by the Pakistani establishment bandwagoning with Russia to enhance pressure on the Biden administration to remain committed to the Doha agreement. Supporting the Taliban cause benefits Pakistan’s policy of realpolitik game theory based on a geostrategic curse by using the Taliban as a double-standard proxy. This strategy has always helped Pakistan’s economy and realpolitik policy in the region. After the Biden administration took the oath, the political development in South Asia informs of the realist game theory of uncertainty and greed for hegemony. One week after the visit of the Taliban to Moscow, Mr. Zamir Kabulove, the Russian envoy for Afghan issues, in his recent interview stressed the importance of the interim government to settle the conflict in Afghanistan. Mr. Kabulove at the same time alleged the United States for not being faithful to the Doha agreement. The Russians have not forgotten to heal their wounds from the Cold War defeat in Afghanistan. For that matter, they will not hesitate to do anything that would end the U.S. hegemony in South Asia. Similarly, reports of Russian bounty for killing American soldiers last year in Afghanistan are part of the same diplomatic effort that the Taliban have been meeting with the Russians and other major players such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The intra-Afghan delegations in Qatar have so far not been able to talk on peace with full autonomy. The peace delegations are not possessing any authority to hold talks to reach a political deal. The Taliban have been paying more frequent visits to Pakistan to seek consultation on every piece of the negotiations, which further undermines the intra-Afghan negotiations. The Taliban’s acceleration of violence in Afghanistan has blurred the hope for reaching a political agreement. The Biden administration reviewing the U.S.-Taliban agreement further paves the ground for holding the Taliban for breaching the agreement. To restore peace in Afghanistan, the Biden administration, NATO, and regional powers need to acknowledge that the key to the Afghan conflict is an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. The proxy game theory further plunges the country into chaos from which the world would not be intact either.