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Synopsis: The US Afghan strategy to pull out the US troops without any settlement leaves the Taliban stronger.
In 2020, the Trump administration signed a deal with the Taliban to pull off US troops from Afghanistan. Following that, the current President Joe Biden upheld the agreement and agrees to pull off US troops. But no settlement has reached between the Afghan government and the Taliban. It leaves the Afghan government as a vulnerable stakeholder.
Background of the US Afghan strategy :
- The U.S. and Taliban signed an agreement for “Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” on February 29, 2020, at Doha. (also called Doha agreement).
- Features of Doha Agreement
- Troops Withdrawal: The US and NATO will withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. All the troops will be out of Afghanistan within 14 months. The withdrawal will start on May 1, 2021, with a full withdrawal by September 11.
- Taliban: Taliban will not allow any of its members to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
- Prisoners: Exchange of prisoners between the Afghan government and the Taliban will be done to build trust.
- Sanctions Removal: As per the Doha agreement, US and UN sanctions on the Taliban leaders will be removed.
The US Afghan strategy under Joe Biden:
- After becoming President Joe Biden ordered a review of the U.S.’s Afghan strategy. This includes the implementation of the Trump-Taliban deal(Doha Agreement).
- There was also speculation that the current President will delay the implementation of the Doha Agreement. It will have to wait until there is a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. This is because of the following reasons.
- But the Taliban has made it clear that it will not participate in the conference. Further, they also threatened to step up attacks if the US did not meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline. So, the US president upheld the Doha Agreement.
Vulnerability of Afghan Government:
- There is an ambiguity with the peace conference. It is not clear whether the peace conference will go through without the Taliban’s participation. If it is without the Taliban participation then there is no point in conducting it at all.
- After September, the Afghan government will not get troop support from the US and NATO. The Afghan government will be on its own to fight the Taliban. The Afghan government depend on US forces driving out the Taliban in the past.
- For example, whenever the Taliban overran cities, U.S. airpower was crucial in driving them back.
- The country is also witnessing a series of targeted killings of journalists, activists and other civil society members opposing the Taliban. So, with US and NATO troops are gone this will intensify as the Afghan government is not capable to control the Taliban.
So, Once the Americans are gone, the balance of power will shift in favour of the Taliban.
Hope for Afghan government:
- Already, The US promised that it would continue remote assistance to the Afghan government.
- The role of regional players such as Russia, China and India is also crucial in deciding the Afghan’s future.
Despite that, the US Afghan strategy not only lost the war, but it also lost the process of withdrawal also. As there is no clear peace settlement and peace roadmap between the Taliban and the Afghan Government. This leaves the Taliban a stronger force in Afghanistan.
Source: The Hindu