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Editorial: Hidden policy

Sources have revealed that a peace deal is expected to be signed this week at the 9th round of US-Taliban talks – which are ongoing in the Qatari capital of Doha. Under the deal, the US forces, which provide all-important air support to Afghan troops, will stop attacking the Taliban and the militants would end their fight against the US troops – subsequently paving ground for the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations. Paradoxically, the US President Donald Trump while replying to a question posed regarding Afghanistan at a press conference after G7 conference in France said the US was in no rush to leave the country and there was no timeline for drawdown. On the other hand, the accelerated push of his to extricate the troops out of the country suggests otherwise. This varying remarks hint that the US has a hidden policy for Afghanistan’s future and doesn’t want to share it yet and thus makes such contradictory remarks time and again.

President Trump has made it obvious that he wants to make the US troop withdrawal happen before the US 2020 Presidential Election possibly for campaigning and re-election reasons. But the Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has been at the forefront in urging him not to order a large-scale troop drawdown from Afghanistan, warning it would threaten US national security. Perhaps the US president has at last listened to him. Trump has been constantly emphasizing that the US is a police keeping force in Afghanistan, signifying his impatience to get out of here as soon as possible. But then again he says he is in no rush to leave. This is ironic because the intrinsic aspect of the ongoing US-Taliban talks is the withdrawal of their troops, something that the Taliban are hell-bent upon.

However, we see the bright part of this disguised and contradictory remarks because as reports have revealed, the US and the Taliban are agreeing on small details to finalize impending peace deal while the Afghan government has also been kept in the loop. Not sharing the details and timelines as of yet is beneficial for Afghanistan and the current system of governance. The mantra pursued by the point man for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad, who says “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” in regards to Taliban talks is favorable. The peace spoilers and vicious neighbors always attempt to find opportunities to make hurdles for peace and keeping them in dark and oblivious on the decisions being taken for Afghanistan’s future is better yet.

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