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Troubles and the Fate of Afghanistan

By Nadir Shah Katawazai

The United States of America has long been fighting what is called as the Global War on Terror (GWOT) for nearly 18 prolonged years in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack.  Billions of money has already been lavishly spent on the conduct of war against terrorism along with different sectors. In the longest war ever fought in the military history of the United States of America, he has spent trillions of dollars ironically without winning this prolonged war and containing the spread of the menace of terrorism in Afghanistan.  The issue of withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan was resolved when a peace treaty was signed between the USA and the Taliban at last in Qatar after nearly two years of peace negotiations. According to the main terms and important substance of the peace deal or agreement reached, the USA will amicably withdraw her 8,600 military troops within 135 days from Afghanistan and subsequently secure the release of 5000 prisoners before the 10th March of 2020.

The parallel ceremony after late February election result announced in which Ashraf Ghani was declared the winner and his bitter political rival Abdullah Abdullah charged vote with fraud along with election complaints commission. This has created a huge political chaos as well as has slowed down the ongoing peace process. The series of attempts and discourses on the issue of conflict resolution and reconciliation by the United States of America’s Special Representative Zalimay Khalilzad between the two leaders have turned out to be a futile attempt to forge an agreement between the warring parties.  In another attempt to ease the tense political situation, the USA government dispatched Mike Pompeo, the United States Secretary of State, but this also ended up with utter failure and he too left without positive message and threatened the Afghan government that if you people not agree on inclusive government, we will cut one billion US dollar and if not shared government we will cut more. He further stated that the leadership failure is a direct threat to U.S. national interests.  The very next day the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani in a live TV talk discussed about the current political and security situation of the country and Pompeo’s visits and reacted to the Pompeo’s ultimatum by saying that such political blackmail will not create much negative impact on the security sector and persisted on the unitary government.

Beside the domestic political tension, the Afghanistan government is fighting against the multiple threats simultaneously such as Wuhan pandemic, United States’ pressure, the release of 5000 prisoners, poor economy, neighboring interferences in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and security challenges that have been considered as a headache for a government to tackle all these issues effectively at one stretch.

After the U.S threat to cut off aid and withdraw her forces, people started fearing that the 1996 like situation will be repeated after late Najibullah government fall and militants will be controlling the Kabul. The role of the neighboring countries is not hidden from any one’s perception especially the support of Pakistan to Talban and Iran with Northern -alliance and Hazara community. The current government is not in the interest of the neighboring countries politically and economically as they are afraid that if this government is stable that will create trouble to them like raising the issue of Durand line and water sharing with Iran. Both neighboring countries are playing a dual policy in order to sabotage the ongoing peace process.

Initially on the issue of the release of prisoners, which is a key part of the deal, the Taliban forces have closed the doors of talks and negotiations with the Afghan government because the Afghan government have concern over this issue as they wanted an assurance from the Taliban that these released prisoners will not go to the battlefield again.  As the peace deals was between Taliban and U.S and with the absence of Afghan government under whose domain these prisoners exist have resulted in the slowdown of the release of prisoners which actually has put the peace process in the back burner.  Consequently there is no reduction in the scale of violence as both are fighting with each other.  Meanwhile, the European Union and other countries are urging the Militants to reduce the violence as pandemic of corona virus is increasing day by day so that the doctors and nurses can be allowed to serve those people under their respective controlled areas.

After deal was concluded an Afghan activist Zahra Husseini said that she is worried about the situation of women in Afghanistan.  He adds that “I don’t trust the Taliban, and remember how they treated women when they were in power.” When the deal was singing there were no women delegates as women are the suppress class in Afghanistan and have ignored for last four decades.

The deadlock on the release of prisoner between afghan government and the Taliban technical delegation. “Shaheen, spokesperson of Taliban tweet that our technical team will not participate in fruitless meetings with relevant sides starting from tomorrow. Once again Pompeo urged the afghan government to make inclusive government and compromise with Taliban rather we will withdrawal of forces. After deadlock government have release hundred prisoner on a day but the militant denied that kind of release is not acceptable to them that are not according to their list.

After withdrawal the Afghanistan government has close eyes on Europe Union, Japan, India and China. China‘s context is clear and wants the U.S to withdraw but only when the withdrawal is responsible and does not leave a chaotic power vacuum that would destablish the region. The Chinese are happy with the decision which will pay a way for Chinese through one road and one belt and Afghanistan will be include in corridor. The involment of china in Afghanistan prime benefit will be in the larger interest of Pakistan as a good friend that will also help in stability of Afghanistan by pressurizing Pakistan to stop terrorism in this region.

The instability in Afghanistan is not in the interest of any of the neighboring nations because that instability will affect the health of the economy of every neighboring country. The oil rich natural resources possessing countries of the Central Asian region will also be affected by it.  These countries, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, are facing the dangers of terrorism and drug trafficking rapidly increasing beyond their borders. From both sides of the Durand line, the tribal people will be in trouble as there is a growing  fear among them that Pakistan’s Military will once again force the terrorists groups to disturb the regions in order to make more profits through more financial aids from the United States of America on the name of fake anti-terrorist operations. The leader of Pashtun Protection Movement has blamed the military of Pakistan as once again indulging in the activities of destabilizing the areas by supporting and making new groups for aiding and abetting terrorism and insurgency. Pakistan is always struggling to have pro-Pakistan and weak government as evidenced in 1996 the shadow government of Taliban. The violence in Afghanistan will slow down the process of the ongoing china‘s ambitious economic and development project of One Belt One Road (OROB) in Baluchistan.

Beside this, for the other major players like china and Russia, the United States of America drives home a clear message that they are not posing any kind of threats for us in Afghanistan.  China has already showed much interest and focus on the stable, democratic and peaceful Afghanistan.  India is the fifth largest donor country doling out aids to Afghanistan which has more chances that India will be playing a major role after the troop’s withdrawal of USA. However, India is cautious in pushing its feet and has concern that she may meet same fate as trap like Russians. Although India will support government to government relations but due to fear of extremism in Kashmir and in past when Indian flight was hijacked from Kathmandu and landed in Kandahar to accept the release of most dangerous extremist involved in terrorist activities in Kashmir, acts as constraints in her deep involvement in Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the United States withdrawal, the Afghan government’s focus will be more relying on the European Union, China, Japan and India.

The consequences emerging from the USA’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will have a deeper impact on the security sector of Afghanistan but the Afghan government is confident that no such kind of situation will be repeated as two decades ago. The Afghan army is conducting more operation and have achieved much success such as the defeat of Islamic State (IS) in Nanghar province and arrest of IS leader Aslam Farooqi. Taliban are also tired from the prolonged war and have developed a rift among them. Beside this the role of warlord will be very crucial after withdrawal of U.S. forces which has strong hold in government. The recent political tension after election and U.S. cutting of its aids are neither in the interest of Afghan government nor the United States of America that will provide free hand to Militants and their enemies to achieve their goals.

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