The US-Taliban peace talks meant to propose and bring negotiations to end the ongoing Afghan War has brought global awareness towards the crisis. As known, Taliban is the main insurgent group fighting in Afghanistan against the government and American troops. The heavy presence of the US military has also failed to bring back peace in the region, with the US ultimately deciding to withdraw a portion of its troops.
Afghanistan’s neighbors such as Pakistan, China, Russia etc. have been playing an active role in intra-Afghan peace talks. The idea of negotiations with Taliban were also offered in September 2007, by the then Afghani President, Hamid Karzai, with the larger aim of ending the war in the country. However, the gradually increasing presence of the US troops in 2009 undermined the entire initiative.
Recalling the history, it was found that Taliban peace talks introduced by the US and Afghan governments were favored by Taliban’s co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar, who sought to accept possible political negotiations to solve the war but it has been problematic ever since. Several efforts have been made to continue the talks but the process has consequently subsided. Pakistan even tried to host a round of four way talks with Afghan, Chinese and American officials, in 2016, but failed to bring Talibani delegates on the round table.
Meanwhile, Russia has more actively involved itself with Afghanistan, launching several efforts at diplomacy. It has provided the war-stricken country with business investment proposals, diplomatic propaganda, cultural programs, financial and military support for the central government, power influence in the north and with the Taliban and many other phenomena.
Russia’s growing influence in Afghanistan is a clear example that the former wants to undercut the US’ role in the South Asian country. It has been improving its relations with Afghanistan, post the Second World War period, contributing more in providing aid and development to the country.
Today both Russia and Afghanistan have an embassy in the capital city of one another. With improving Russian relations, the US-Afghan relations are falling apart. One major reason is the presence of Taliban in the country that has long been calling for the US troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan.
State Secretary Mike Pompeo visited Russia in May to discuss and bring the country on the common ground of reducing violence in Afghanistan, lest no sooner the deal went off the table. As and when the US was found close to achieve a peace deal with Taliban, while it prepared for troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, Kabul attack happened. The violent attack, in September, killed an American soldier and 11 people, severely turning the tables off the deal, as the president cancelled the peace negotiations.
On Monday, Mike Pompeo said that the US will not agree to a cease-fire with Taliban forces in Afghanistan without “demonstrable evidence” that it is committed to reducing violence. During a press conference in Uzbekistan, Pompeo stated, “We’re working on a peace and reconciliation plan, putting the commas in the right place, getting the sentences right. We got close once before to having an agreement: a piece of paper that we mutually executed and the Taliban were unable to demonstrate either their will or capacity or both to deliver on a reduction in violence.”
“So, what we are demanding now is demonstrable evidence of their will and capacity to reduce violence, to take down the threat, so the inter-Afghan talks … will have a less violent context,” he added. “We’re hopeful we can achieve that but we’re not there yet, and work certainly remains.”
Since, the cancellation of the US-Taliban peace talks, the opponents of the deal have started to beat the drum of victory. Meanwhile, it has also created a commotion amongst the Afghanis as they raised concerns against the ongoing crisis. They are now of the opinion that their days of war have again unnumbered, considering the failing deal.