Division on peace among Afghan government and the US administration became public after the recent 16 days’ lengthy peace talks between the US and the Taliban that ended on 12th March in Qatar without disclosure of details to the Afghan government, which is a strategic ally in the war on terror.
Other NATO allies of the USA are also excluded from the talks so far. Therefore, all the opposition to the Taliban are living in frustration of the developments not known yet to others than the US and Taliban.
Mohibs recent statements against Khalizad transmitted the frustration to the US government. So the only advantageous side in the aftermaths of these talks are the Taliban and its allies who pretend neutral. Mohib, Security Advisor to the Afghan President criticized the US actions and expressed his irritation by saying that talking to Taliban and negotiating with them discredited the 9/11 victims and hundreds of US troops who lost their lives in the war on terror in Afghanistan. He also criticized Mr. Khalilzad and blamed him for struggling to become Afghanistan’s viceroy.
His avowals provoked US governments exasperation as Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale summoned Afghan National Security Adviser immediately to the US state department to reject the comments made by him. The US government further went with its very uncommon action to ban issuance of visa to Mr. Mohib for the future.
To the astonishment of all in Afghanistan, the united states has signed a strategic security and cooperation agreement with Afghanistan, and has struggled to enable the Afghan government to be recognized internationally, but the frustration with the 18 years long war forced the US government to neglect all those past agreements and find a solution to the problems they plunged into in 2001 by trusting a non-NATO ally.
According to a report by Reuters, majority of the US allies in the war on terror and those who contributed to the war in Afghanistan, are stunned when they have not been included in the talks with the Taliban. They question as they have been included in the war and excluded from the peace talks. This means the Afghan peace have become a source of international frustration except for the Taliban and its allies who only do not publicize their sympathy to the radical insurgents.
As a result of the recent talks with the Taliban the balance of de facto credibility has changed in favor of the Taliban. Taliban who in the past were equated with terrorists are today talking with the only super power of the world for withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. Even if the talks fail, Taliban might have gained much in terms of firstly, obtaining the status to speak with other governments in the future as the US itself granted them this status. Secondly, if the political situation remains as it is and the talks continue without change of Taliban’s stance, they would be seen as freedom fighters by public internally and outside Afghanistan.
On the other hand, the Afghan government has lost much of its credibility as the Taliban rejected to talk with it terming it a puppet government The Afghan government lost the credibility as a result of these developments as it is not even privy to the talks about the destiny of the territory it claims to be elected government of. The second and most important blow on the face of the Afghan government is that a very strategic ally, the country which supports it both militarily and financially and always emphasized on an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace process is not considering any crucial role of the Afghan government in the peace talks.
If the political affairs stand as they are and the US continues to avoid listening to concerns of the Afghan government, the already existing trust of the Afghan people and politicians on both the United States and Afghan government will melt and eventually the security departments of the country would not be able to maintain its soldiers on the duty. Who is going to be fighting on the unreliable side? Then the road will be paved for the Taliban and its allies where even talks would not be needed.
Based on the popular Pashto proverb “Truth is bitter”, although statements of the Afghan advisor were partly undiplomatic but are real and factual that is why the frustration of the Afghan government eventually frustrated the US Government. If the people in the united states would ask its government about the purpose of the war in Afghanistan, the only achievement they would have as result of the ongoing talks is: Taliban’s guarantee that America would not be attacked from this land.
Is this assurance of the Taliban worth the thousands of sacrifices in human lives and trillions of dollars spent? By no means this could be an equal price of the resources wasted. Therefore, the talks could not be less than a surrender to the party occasionally termed as terrorists as a result of frustration emanated from the longest war of the United States initiated with unintended promise of support of a non-NATO ally.
The writer is Anayatullah Alami, who once was served as Editor in Afghanistan Times Daily