The Kabul Times.
Politics

Withdrawal of US troops and incomplete peace talks in Afghanistan

FILE -- Soldiers board a transport helicopter at a base in Kunduz, Afghanistan, March 6, 2011. What no one knew in 2001 was that Operation Enduring Freedom, the invasion to rout al-Qaida and its hosts, the Taliban, from Afghanistan would turn into a war that is now in its 20th year — America’s longest. (Damon Winter/The New York Times)

By: Suraya Raiszada

KABUL: Despite peace efforts by the Afghan government and the international community, US President Joe Biden has announced that he will withdraw all his forces from Afghanistan by September.
Following the US president troops pullout from Afghanistan, a US official said that the United States had to close the chapter of a 20-year old war in Afghanistan, announcing that the last US troops would leave Afghanistan by 9/11.
Afghanistan today is now different from the devastated country under the Taliban’s regime, which was overthrown in the 2001 US-led invasion following the 9/11 attacks, according to the US official.
But this window of opportunity for a retreat from Afghanistan is crucial because it can either accelerate the movement towards peace, or pave the way for a violent escalation that could lead to the destruction of a more open society that has experienced many ups and downs over the past two decades, said the official, reiterating his country’s troops withdrawal.
Tamim Asi, Executive Director to the Institute of War and Peace Studies, warned that the best possible outcome can be expected for the timetable of the exit to act as a pressure mechanism on the Afghan Taliban to understand whether or not to reach a political agreement by the end of September as the group is seen preparing for a bloody Syrian-style civil war, in the country.
Many Afghans now fear entering a terrible phase of civil war following a conflict that has been described as one of the most violent in the world.
However, human rights activists, while insisting on the outcome of the peace talks, say that the United States should not leave Afghanistan without achieving peace, human rights and financial support, because the Afghan people think withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, can leave the country with a great responsibility, which is the unfinished peace plan.
Meantime, the House of People has reacted to the announcement of the withdrawal of US troops, saying it was a long-standing demand of the Afghan people, but under the current harsh security situation and the unknown fate of peace, any troops’ withdrawal was not a proper decision.
The parliamentarians warn that withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in the current situation could lead to a worsening of the situation and civil war in the country.
Nahid Farid, a member of Wolesi Jirga, said that withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan could be a good opportunity for the Taliban to come and pursue peace talks with the government.
After the withdrawal of US troops, the Afghan government’s leadership is confident that the country’s security and defense forces were capable of defending their territory and people under all circumstances.
Amrullah Saleh, the country’s First Vice-President said: “We can defend the human dignity and fundamental rights of the people against the Taliban and their allies under all circumstances.”
“Over the past two years, most of the defense and operational initiatives have been carried out by the country’s brave forces. Now, the Taliban, realizing the US and NATO policies, are no longer willing to peace,” the First Vice-President said.
If the war intensifies, along with the country’s 350,000 troops, the people would also be ready to defend Afghanistan, he said.
Fortunately, the Afghan security forces can defend their land and their people, and we and you are witnessing all the operations taking place all over 34 provinces of the country, said Saleh.
What matters now is that all sides of negotiations should force the Taliban militants to join peace process and stop destroying Afghanistan and killing the innocent people.
“The people of Afghanistan are completely independent in their demands for peace, justice and the preservation of national and democratic values, but there are concerns that with the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the achievements of the Afghan people, especially the achievements of women will be undetermined,” said Safia Hamnawa, a civil society activist.
Jamal Farahmand, a former military official, believed if the US troops gradually withdraw from Afghanistan, it will not affect the situation in Afghanistan, but if they withdraw quickly, terrorist groups and their regional supporters will use the opportunity for their interest.
“The United States must take into account all regional sensitivities and work to ensure that Afghanistan does not once again become a safe haven for terrorists and that its 20-year achievements are not wasted,” he said.
It is a well-known fact that terrorists still fight against the interests of both countries and demand that American forces be present to eliminate them and ensure stability in this country.
Also, military experts believe that political and regional realities of Afghanistan require the presence of US forces in the country and the Afghan government should not lose the international partners and should not be isolated anymore.

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The Kabul Times.