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US election; how it will impact Afghanistan peace talks

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KABUL: With the Taliban and the Afghan government engaged in marathon peace talks mediated by the United States, it can be assumed that the U.S. presidential elections in November have a substantial impact on these crucial negotiations.

Importance of US elections for Afghan peace talks hinges on views held by US President Donald Trump and his rival Joe Biden about war and peace in Afghanistan.

“The US election has an impact on the whole world, especially on Afghanistan,” Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of High Council of National Reconciliation said recently. He believed that Donald Trump and Joe Biden have similar viewpoints about Afghanistan politics, but the situation will be different after the election no matter who wins.

Niloufar Sakhi, a university professor and political scientist in the United States, explains, “US Congress believes the plan to end the war and pull out troops from Afghanistan is Trump’s reelection campaign promises and the peace is a project to achieve the same promise he made to its supporters, and therefore a positive view of the peace process is not seen here among Democrats.”

Aref Sahar, a professor and researcher at a British university, believes that the US presidential election has a direct impact on peace efforts in Afghanistan. “The issue of peace in Afghanistan is, in fact, diminishing in terms of US foreign policy, and it is becoming a relatively small, fleeting electoral issue,” Sahar said.

US political analyst Hashem Vahdatyar believes that Joe Biden has not yet taken a clear position on Afghanistan, but in his view, Trump and Biden’s positions on Afghanistan are no different. “Because both the Democrats and the Republicans believe that a number of their troops should stay in Afghanistan to fight terrorism and maintain a foothold in regional rivalries such as China, Russia and Iran,” he said.

President Trump tweeted on October 7 that he wanted all US troops to leave Afghanistan by December 25. But under a February agreement between the United States and the Taliban in Qatar, all US troops will leave Afghanistan in mid-May 2021, provided the Taliban’s promise to fight terrorism becomes a reality.

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