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As the US Exits Afghanistan, Who Is There to Tame Taliban?
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar leaves after signing an agreement with the United States during a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020 (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

As the US Exits Afghanistan, Who Is There to Tame Taliban?

Satoru Nagao

By Ayanangsha Maitra, Rajarshi Chakraborty, and Satoru Nagao

Sometimes, the best way to triumph over an enemy is to quit the game. In an attempt to honour his election campaign promise of bringing the American soldiers back home, President Trump announced the complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. About eight thousand six hundred remaining boys in boots will return from Afghanistan by Christmas this year. The Taliban, whom American forces have been fighting for the last two decades, is now a closed-door dialogue partner of the White House. The arch-rivals in the eerie battleground are now facing off each other in opulent hotels.

In the two-decade-long war, America has paid enormously in currency, diplomacy, and defence. It has cost the US exchequer almost $2 trillion. Several efforts to bring peace have gone in vain. Ultimately, Washington has successfully brought the Taliban and the Afghan government to talk to each other. The two belligerent parties are now engaged in the tete-a-tete. In Doha, the Afghan government caught up with the Taliban at the much-awaited intra-Afghan peace talk, held in September. Despite several attempts, an agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government could not take place earlier as the bellicose force never recognized the legitimacy of the elected government in Afghanistan. In the eyes of the Taliban, the incumbent in Kabul remains a puppet government of the Western powers. What contrasts the most between the present administration and the earlier Talibani rule is their diametrically opposite ideologies. Whereas the present system in Afghanistan runs democratically, the Taliban believes in the Islamic Sharia law. The battle is now between democracy and theocracy.

The ongoing peace process is a continuum of American mediation between the Taliban and the Afghan government since February 2020.  White House is nearing an imminent peace deal with the Taliban as they are no longer deeply interested in Afghanistan. Washington’s priority is now countering China’s growing influence.

Read the full report in The Peninsula Foundation

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