By Bilal Yusufi
KABUL: As the incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump is edging his end at White House, he has escalated efforts – apparently pressurizing the Afghan government to come to a conclusion with the Taliban as it would give Trump glee to some expects after being defeated by the elected-president Joseph Biden in the 2020 U.S. election.
Afghanistan announced the arrival of the newly appointed and acting U.S. Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller in an unannounced visit on Tuesday evening. Miller held talks with President Ghani exchanging views on the Afghan peace process and what are the essential steps to be taken in regards.
Before Miller, the U.S. Chief of Army Staff had visited Kabul, meeting President Ghani and other Afghan officials. The talks between the two sides focused on the same issues – the continuation of US support to the Afghan security forces and off course the peace process. The visits of the US officials happened after the negotiating teams of the government and Taliban reached a breakthrough on the procedure on the intra-Afghan negotiations.
But what was significantly discussed in the meetings was not made publicized. It could over further release Taliban prisoners, a move that has emboldened the insurgents in the battlefield.
After the Afghan and Taliban peace negotiators announced a 22-day break to consult with their leadership what they achieved in the talks, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul Ross Wilson announced that the insurgents expect the release of another 7,000 prisoners.
Miller’s trip to Afghanistan happened at the same time when the Taliban’s Chief Negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar visited the group’s wounded fighters in Karachi city of Pakistan. These Taliban fighters obviously received injuries in the fight against the Afghan security forces and now are being treated in Pakistan. Giving a glance at the issues, we see that the U.S. has been putting pressure on the Afghan government to meet the next steps of the deal, which is signed between the U.S. and militants on February 29th in Qatari capital, Doha.
What is the next step? We have already heard about it from a top US official in Afghanistan, Wilson – the release of 7,000 prisoners. Of course, it is unacceptable for the people of Afghanistan and to the government. But it would bear no results as it was in the past when Kabul opposed the release of over 5,000 Taliban prisoners. But they were set free, and the U.S. made it possible. And the Taliban in return, released 1,000 Afghan security forces held in its custody.
What U.S. President Donald Trump tries to do is, to conclude an about deal that could add up to the achievements of his tenure but he really doesn’t care that what would a quick peace bring in Afghanistan. The Afghans in the 1990s experienced the deadly civil wars that erupted among the Mujahiddins after the Soviet Union left the country. a rapidness in such crucial process would surely prop up more problems than we have now. We better move slowly but carefully rather than carelessly running towards an imposed peace.