Afghanistan’s peace process has been highly rocky. Although Trump administration has put all its weight behind the negotiation, optimism for its fruition is yet to increase. After wrapping up the sixth round of talks with the Taliban in Doha, the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad cited “steady but slow progress” in the talks.
But despite of deadlock in the process, American and Taliban representatives are expected to meet next week in Doha, amid hopes that the two sides will achieve a measure of progress on some issues. A US pullout Afghanistan, counterterrorism assurances, a ceasefire and direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban will be in the table.
As efforts at ending the war have intensified, the seventh round of the US-Taliban negotiations could yield a breakthrough. Taliban’s refusal to hold direct talks with the Afghan government or declare a ceasefire is seen as a major stumbling-block to the dialogue making headway.
Peace talks between the US and Taliban representatives are disappointing for Afghans for two reasons: First, the Afghan government is yet to hold direct talks with the Taliban militants, who are the main factor behind increasing civilian casualties and intesificaiton war in the country. Despite the fact that Afghan government generously offered to recognize the Taliban as political party and hold unconditional talks, Afghanistan’s neighboring countries and international allies could not persuade the Taliban to hold talks with the Afghan government.
Second, notwithstanding the ongoing peace talks, war and militancy have been escalated as the Taliban fighters intensified their attacks. Despite of repeated calls by government and the Afghan people, the insurgents spared no efforts in targeting civilians in public places as well as security forces.
If the Taliban really fight for the interests of Afghan people, as they claim, and have their own authority for making decision, they have to accept the public demands for ceasefire and shun bloodshed and violence in the country.
If the talks between the Taliban and US representatives reach deadlock and if the two sides do not reach an agreement, the ongoing war in Afghanistan will surge up and the US and its allies needed to further intensify attacks against the Taliban and their hideouts.
The US must also put pressure on the countries sponsoring terrorists. That is, if the Taliban continue their offensive relentlessly and deny the demands of their interlocutors, they have to face the consequences.
It should be noted that if the Taliban fight against foreign troops, they have to lay down their arms after the withdrawal of the international troops, as the US agreed to pull out its forces, and return home as civilians. But the Taliban’s bargain for higher price at the peace table indicates that they are fighting a proxy war putting the national interests at stake.
Taliban has time and again showed that they are carrying out each and every attack on the basis of orders of their masters and they don’t care about civilians and the government. Therefore US should be very much cautious and do carefully decide about the fate of their forces and war on terror campaign. The Trump administration should not take any quick decisions that its consequences would harm the whole region.