Peace Accord Promises
The peace accord in Doha is just the beginning. Who knows, once the U.S. presidential
elections are over, will American interest in Afghanistan be still as abiding?
Afghanistan has a troubled history of foreign invasions and internal infighting. The landlocked and socially diverse country has remained the battlefield of the world’s super powers and, as a result has earned the reputation of the “graveyard of empires”. After the 9/11, the incident that changed the entire global political landscape, US-led allies invaded Afghanistan to wipe out the global terror outfit, the Al-Qaeda, that was sheltered by the Taliban government and it was alleged by te U.S. that the 9/11 attacks had been perpetrated from this region. The war continued endlessly in which thousands of Afghans died during the course of nineteen long years. Though the challenges are not yet over, the Qatar agreement has provided some hope to Afghanistan and its neighbours that peace is on the horizon.
Now the negotiations have entered into the most complex phase – an intra-Afghan dialogue process. If this succeeds, it can pave the way for lasting peace. If this does not happen, more disproportionate violence will ensue. The whole affair must be dealt with the utmost caution by both the stakeholders and the facilitators.
The attacks of 9/11, the deadliest attacks on the US mainland after Pearl Harbour in 1941, killed more than 3,000 persons. The United States demanded of the then Taliban government to hand over to them the Al-Qaeda leaders but the Taliban refused. In response, the United States-led allies launched “Operation Enduring Freedom”, popularly known as the “war on terror” with the aim to wipe out the global terror outfit which they claimed was responsible for 9/11. They wanted to introduce western democratic values in conservative Afghanistan. The longest war in history resulted in 4,030 deaths of Western coalition forces and cost $975 billion. In addition, there were 58,000 deaths of Afghan security forces and thousands of civilian casualties.
Unlike previous half-baked negotiation efforts, President Trump was determined this time to obtain a positive result. He assigned the task to diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad. On February 29, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Zalmay Khalilzad signed an agreement paving the way for lasting peace in Afghanistan. The agreement contained: (1) guarantee that the Afghan soil will not be allowed to be used against the US or its allies. (2) a timeline for withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghan soil. (3) an intra-Afghan dialogue and political settlement between the Taliban and the Kabul government. (4) permanent ceasefire. The landmark agreement provided a sigh of relief to the Afghans and their neighbours and they hoped that an era of peace and prosperity was around the corner.