News Analysis |
Afghan-born U.S diplomate and special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, while talking at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), has lauded the role which Pakistan has played in the ongoing dialogue process between the United States and the Taliban insurgents. “We always would like Pakistan, like other countries to do more, but we appreciate what they have done so far and I have indicated and Secretary [of State], [Mike] Pompeo and the president that we want to have good relations with Pakistan, better relations with Pakistan,” he said in response to a question on the role of Islamabad in his ongoing efforts to bring peace in this war-ravaged country. The appreciation coming from Khalilzad is the latest addition to the list which Pakistan is generally getting from the world in general and the United States in particular.
“The role that Pakistan has played in terms of its relationship with the Taliban and the Haqqani network has been a burden on this (US-Pak) relationship. They say they want peace. We welcome that. We want them to, to play a positive role,” said the US diplomat who has had several rounds of talks with the Taliban in Doha.
The current military paradigm of Afghanistan is gravely in favor of the Taliban where the government forces lack training and proper infrastructure to keep them at bay themselves.
The attitude of the United States, especially after Donald Trump, took over Oval office has been hostile. Security and development aid to Pakistan was suspended and the country was repeatedly accused of harboring terrorists. Eventually, it was the same people in the Trump administration who are now compelled to appreciate Pakistan’s efforts in bring Taliban to the table. One senior US official, who declined to be identified, said of Pakistan’s role in the talks: “We know it just wouldn’t be possible without their support. They’ve facilitated some movement and travel to the discussions in Doha.”
He also expressed the U.S desire of coming to terms with the Taliban before the presidential elections are commenced in Afghanistan this year. “It will be better for Afghanistan if we could a get peace agreement before the election, which is scheduled before July,” the US negotiator said.
However, he did acknowledge that there are many issues which are pertinent to attention and negotiations before the deal could be reached, stating that the agreement should be a whole package encompassing all the requisites for sustainable peace in Afghanistan.
Desperation Could be Costly
The key to success to the current process of negotiations lies in the termination of the bloodshed which has been going on for decades in Afghanistan. The current military paradigm of Afghanistan is gravely in favor of the Taliban where the government forces lack training and proper infrastructure to keep them at bay themselves.
The disagreement between both the sides has prevailed over the nature of Constitution which Afghanistan would adopt after the settlement with the United States.
Though the Taliban have expressed the desire of peacefully coexisting and collectively governing the Afghan mainland, the other side is still skeptic to this assertion. It is obvious that the six months in between are enough to build a force string capable enough to stop the rampage of the Taliban toward Kabul if they decide to backtrack from their words.
A recent meeting of opposition politicians, which also included ex-President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, with Taliban in Doha has been a significant development yet it did not result in a substantial breakthrough. The disagreement between both the sides has prevailed over the nature of Constitution which Afghanistan would adopt after the settlement with the United States.
Also, there seems to be no update regarding the form of government and distribution of power as yet. Hence instead of pushing for an agreement by placing a timeline to it could become counterproductive in terms of objectives which the United States and rest of the stakeholders have in mind if the civil war prolongs.