President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are grappling with an array of external and internal challenges plagued by the United States (US) that are stark, profound, and formidable. From tackling the Covid-19 pandemic to fixing the economy and counteracting China to reassessing the trade, the real test of their caliber has already been started since ascending to power by January 20 this year.
Most significantly, Biden-Harris’ presidency confronts a serious conundrum in Afghanistan which merits shrewd examination and diplomatic acumen. In order to end the endless war, the Biden administration was determined to pull troops out from Afghanistan by May but the US exit plan remained delayed following a deadline extension on account of the Taliban’s irresponsible attitude over the commitments they made in their agreement with the United States.
The Doha accord brokered between the Afghan Taliban and the United States in February 2020, paved the roadmap for the US troops’ withdrawal in return for the Taliban agreeing not to let Afghan soil be used again by terrorist groups.
Lamentably, both parties are yet unable to live up to their promises to terminate the long-festering Afghan war. Taliban are not adhering to their commitments in accordance with cutting ties with terrorist groups and curbing violence in the region while the US is reluctant to withdraw troops from Afghanistan on the pretext of the Taliban’s continuous reliance on war, violence, and bloodshed.
Pentagon’s accurate apprehensions
In a promising development, President Joe Biden formally announced that the United States will withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, the al-Qaida attacks that plunge the United States into its longest war with devastating repercussions as the US is coping with its military and financial catastrophes till date.
Fortunately, this tumultuous and bloody war is coming to an end. But will Biden’s presidency live up to the commitment of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan this time amid the mounting pressure from Pentagon?
Pentagon is highly concerned about the swift and outright withdrawal of U.S. troops which is likely to unleash a gruesome trail of blood and terror, resulting in safe havens for terror groups as Afghanistan is already a battlefield for various elements, pursuing the roles of spoiler and carrying out perpetual attacks in conformity with their nefarious designs.
The apprehensions of the Pentagon seem to be accurate as the Taliban have not yet cut ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist outlets despite the pledges inked under the US-Taliban peace deal. They are operating shoulder-to-shoulder in respect of a shared ideology that emphasizes the significance of “restoration of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.
The alliance is eyeing an opportunity to return to power when all foreign forces are once withdrawn from Afghanistan that could, thereafter, witness vicious barbarism in the garb of sharia law enforcement like that of their previous 1996 to 2001 notorious and misogynistic regime.
Need for a joint effort
US-Taliban Doha accord is, unfortunately, at crossroads and the Afghan peace pace is lurking around the dark shadows with no immediate progress. Both poles have adopted a tougher stance against each other. The possible apprehensions over both bellicose parties only ensue a pandemonium atmosphere that could destabilize the region and have far-reaching consequences in an already war-ravaged country.
Taliban’s intransigence has always contributed to greater violence and causalities. They are infamous in terms of breaching pacts and agreements. The bloody war and large-scale violence will continue to torment Afghanistan until top-notch Taliban leaders demonstrate flexibility and responsibility in undergoing a just and permanent ceasefire.
Read more: US-Taliban Deal: An elusive peace?
The United States must take aggressive measures to hold the Taliban accountable for their egregious violations of the commitments signed under the Doha accord. The international community must also scrutinize the evil intentions of both parties and pile up substantial pressure on them to live up to their promises made with the agreement.
Given the bewildering dilemma, all military factions including Afghan and the US governments should stand unified and opt the path of collective reconciliation to show unflinching determination in order to resolve their long-lingering animosities.
There is a significant and pressing need for a common political framework for power-sharing negotiations between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government as the Taliban are ambitious to be recognized as a legitimate political party. The prospects of peace and stability tend to remain darkened in Afghanistan unless Taliban leadership is given full-fledged parallel legitimacy.
Last but not least, the Taliban’s desire for legitimacy should be fulfilled only if they fully give up violence and ensure the guarantee of protection of women’s rights unconditionally.
The writer is a blogger and freelancer based in Quetta. He tweets at @MannanSamad8. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.