U.s.-Taliban Peace Agreement

Another possibility is that the Taliban may be the main cause of the break-in talks, either because Taliban leaders refuse to enter into negotiations or because they make unacceptable demands on the United States and the Afghan government. The Taliban have already questioned many issues, such as the legitimacy of the current Afghan government and the exchange of prisoners. The Afghan government did not participate in the February 2020 agreement because the Taliban deemed the Ghani government illegitimate and refused to negotiate with its representatives. Taliban leaders also left talks with the Afghan government in April 2020 after a lack of agreement on prisoner exchanges. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani`s spokesman, Sediq Sediqqi, said on Twitter, quoting the Afghan head of state: “The agreement is a step forward towards opening negotiations on the most important issues, including a comprehensive ceasefire as a central demand of the Afghan people.” The agreement is part of more than 18 months of peace talks – and nine rounds – involving Khalilzad, Taliban representatives, Afghan government delegations and many other special representatives or envoys from neighbouring or regional countries and international organizations. The signing of the agreement was preceded by a seven-day reduction in the violence agreement, seen as a test of the Taliban`s ability to control their armed forces. After months of talks in Doha, the capital of Qatar, the agreement is being negotiated by the United States. In Afghanistan, both sides are still at war and Taliban attacks on government forces continue unabated. The first is the breakdown of the peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. A collapse can occur for several reasons. U.S. Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said the two sides had agreed on a “tripartite agreement that codifies the rules and procedures of their negotiations on a political roadmap and a comprehensive ceasefire.” Unlike the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, the joint statement explicitly refers to al Qaeda terrorist groups and the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Chorasan, not “armed groups.” The United States and NATO have committed to training Afghan security forces (in accordance with existing security agreements [PDF]) and conducting counter-terrorism operations, while the Afghan government has pledged to prevent these terrorist groups from using Afghanistan as a base and continuing to conduct counter-terrorism and anti-drug operations. I followed the progress of the agreement between the United States and the Taliban in my capacity as director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

My analysis has just concluded that the implementation of the Trump administration agreement has stalled. The internal cohesion and weaknesses of the Afghan government and the Taliban will also play a role in the ability of all parties, including the United States, to implement these agreements. The Taliban may also have trouble convincing Quetta Shura skeptics – the Council of Taliban Leaders or Rahbari Shura – such as Abdul Qayyum Zakir, Mullah Ibrahim Sadar, Mullah Yaqub and even leader Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada. Lower Taliban commanders or partner groups such as Al Qaeda could also oppose an agreement or oppose how it could be implemented.

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