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Afghan peace would fall apart without Taliban reintegration into society

News Analysis |

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) office has presented its report to U.S Congress regarding the undergoing peace process and has pinpointed mainstreaming of Taliban and their family into Afghan society as a key element for the success of the effort. Reintegration along with two other factors was what SIGAR report based the probability of sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

“A failure to successfully reintegrate Taliban fighters and their families into Afghan society, a failure to improve civil policing, and a failure to ensure effective oversight of continuing foreign financial assistance could each undermine the sustainability of any peace agreement that might be reached,” SIGAR chief John Sopko warned in the annual report.

Reintegration along with two other factors was what SIGAR report based the probability of sustainable peace in Afghanistan.

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), founded in 2008, is the leading oversight authority which the U.S Congress created to bring an independent analysis of Afghanistan situation and the threat to U.S investments, both financial and strategic, other than what the executive branch releases.

The governing administration at times paints the picture in a way which suits the policy narrative of the president or lobbying group and which is far from the on-ground situation. Since 2014, insecurity, corruption, and illegal drug trade have been at the top of SIGAR’s list as the threat to U.S interests in Afghanistan.

Read more: US envoy seeks peace deal in Taliban talks before Afghan elections

Reintegration of Taliban

The most pressing question of the stakeholders in Afghanistan, other than the United States of America which has its interest secured based on developments so far with respect to the ongoing peace process, is the post-withdrawal politics context of the country. It is a genuine apprehension that as soon as the last U.S soldier is airlifted from Afghanistan; the Taliban are going to run over the ill-trained and ill-equipped Afghan forces taking the reins of power in Kabul.

Since 2014, insecurity, corruption, and illegal drug trade have been at the top of SIGAR’s list as the threat to U.S interests in Afghanistan.

But a statement coming from Afghan Taliban that they are not looking for a monopoly on power says that they actually are ready to share power with the current Kabul regime. “The Taliban members want to live with other Afghans, tolerate one another and start living like brothers. We believe in an inclusive Afghan world, where all Afghans can see themselves in it,” Taliban Doha based spokesperson Sohail Shaheen said.

A proper framework in this regard is yet to be formalized and so far, it is the only conciliatory statement which has made its way into the mainstream media. If there has already been a covert deal during the course of negotiations, it remains concealed from the general overview.

Read more: Peace amidst war: US-Taliban talks make “Real Strides”

Economic Stability

Another crucial element for long-term peace is the economic wellbeing of the people of Afghanistan. The drug empire even under the watch of the United States of America for years has thrived because of one simple fact that there are no alternatives for Afghans to earn their living. So far, almost the entire budget for the Kabul regime is contributed by the USA and its allies and unfortunately, it has not been used to implement reforms on the grass root level.

Instead, billions of dollars ended up being plundered by different level of Afghan establishment from politicians to the army. Therefore, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction apprehension is legit that it is necessary to look for a way to help the Afghan economy going or else further financial assistance would meet the same fate it has been for last 18 years.