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Editorial: Gears up for peace

The topic of inking a US-Taliban peace deal is in full swing and the prospects of it seems relatively high considering the progress made so far. The Taliban describe the only issue that needs to be sorted out now is the ‘date’ to sign the peace agreement. It’s even hinted that the agreement might be signed by this month’s end. It can be considered a great achievement given the fact that the US-Taliban talks were earlier called off for a month due to differences over key issues, which were predominantly an insistence by the US that the Afghan government be involved in the process of dialogue and that a ceasefire be announced with the President Ashraf Ghani government. Although the Taliban have reportedly agreed to a ceasefire with the US, the militant group still hides under the vague term of ‘reduction in violence’ when it comes to the Afghan government forces. This is while the Afghan government is seemingly not taken into confidence about these developments of the peace deal. It is because the Ghani administration hasn’t been kept in the picture as it is still demanding that the Taliban should agree to a permanent armistice before the signing of any deal but the situation on the ground isn’t what it expects to be.

Meanwhile, all these stepped-up efforts to find a peaceful settlement are aimed at inking an agreement before the onset of spring in order to pre-empt the usual Afghan Taliban “spring offensive”. Although all this hype around a soon-to-be-signed agreement bodes well, there is also fear that the recent flare-up between Washington and Tehran could potentially hurt the prospects of sustainable peace in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, with the strong campaign by the American public demanding US troop withdrawal at the earliest possible, it seems Washington is doing everything in haste and might have made irrational compromises to the Taliban in order to get extricated from the Afghan quagmire. Moreover, the important issue is the post-peace deal measures and the way forward for Afghanistan. As the clauses and provisions of the agreement aren’t fully shared with the Afghan masses, it is uncertain whether the US would remain an ally and similarly engaged in Afghanistan’s reconstruction after a possible peace accord with the Taliban. Besides, the US-Taliban peace accord would only bear fruit provided that a long-term truce is observed as soon as it is signed and that it paves the ground for intra-Afghan talks. Also, it is equally essential that it should be properly observed by the Taliban, otherwise, there would be uncertain future looming for Afghanistan.

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