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Analysis

 US-Taliban Doha Accord At Crossroads

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are grappling with an array of external and internal challenges plagued by the United States that are stark, profound and formidable. From tackling the Covid-19 pandemic to fixing the economy and counteracting China to reassessing the trade, the real test of their calibre has already been started since ascending to power since January 20 this year.

Most significantly, Biden-Harris presidency confronts a serious conundrum in Afghanistan. In order to end the endless war, Biden administration was determined to pull troops out from Afghanistan by May but the US exit plan remained delayed following a deadline extension on account of Taliban’s irresponsible attitude over the commitments they made in their agreement in Doha.

The Doha accord brokered between Afghan Taliban and the United States in February 2020, paving the roadmap for the US troops’ withdrawal in return for Taliban agreeing not to let Afghan soil to be used again by terrorist groups. Unfortunately, both parties are yet to live up to their promises to terminate the long-festering Afghan war. Taliban are not adhering to their commitments in accordance with cutting ties with terrorist groups and curbing violence in the region while the US is reluctant to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in the pretext of Taliban’s continuous reliance on war, violence and bloodshed.

In a promising development, President Joe Biden formally announced that the United States will withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, the al-Qaida attacks that plunge the United States into its longest war with devastating repercussions as the US is coping with its military and financial loss till date. Fortunately, this tumultuous war is coming to an end. But will Biden presidency live up to the commitment of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan this time amid the mounting pressure from Pentagon?

Pentagon is highly concerned about the swift and outright withdrawal of U.S. troops which is likely to unleash a gruesome trail of blood and terror. That may result in safe heavens for terror groups as Afghanistan is a already battlefield for various elements, pursuing the roles of spoiler and carrying out perpetual attacks in conformity with their nefarious designs.

The apprehensions of Pentagon are based on the new reports that Taliban have not yet cut ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist outlets despite the pledges inked under the US-Taliban peace deal. They are operating shoulder-to-shoulder in respect of a shared ideology that emphasizes the significance of “restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”. The alliance is eyeing an opportunity to return to power when all foreign forces are once withdrawn from Afghanistan that could, thereafter, witness vicious barbarism in the garb of sharia law enforcement like that of their previous 1996 to 2001 notorious and misogynistic regime.

US-Taliban Doha accord is, unfortunately, at crossroads and Afghan peace process may not achieve immediate progress. Both poles have adopted a tougher stance against each other. The possible apprehensions of both bellicose parties only ensue a pandemonium atmosphere that could destabilize the region and have far-reaching consequences in an already war-ravaged country.

Taliban’s intransigence has always contributed to greater violence and causalities. They are infamous in terms of breaching pacts and agreements. The bloody war and large-scale violence will continue to torment Afghanistan until top-notch Taliban leaders demonstrate flexibility and responsibility in implementing a just and permanent ceasefire.

The international community must take due measures to hold Taliban accountable for their egregious violations of the commitments signed under Doha accord. International community must also scrutinize the intentions of both parties and exert substantial pressure to ensure that the agreement is respected.

There is a significant and pressing need of a common political framework for power-sharing negotiations between Afghan Taliban and Afghan government as Taliban are ambitious to be recognized as a legitimate political party. The prospects of peace and stability tend to remain weak unless the Taliban is given full-fledged legitimacy.

Last but not least, Taliban’s desire for legitimacy should be fulfilled only if they fully give up violence and ensure women’s rights unconditionally.

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Naya Daur