The UN-led conference on the future Afghanistan peace process which was to be held in Turkey was postponed. The US proposed the conference to hasten the Afghan peace process. However, the Taliban’s refusal has resulted in postponing the conference. The officials of Pakistan, Turkey, and Afghanistan are meeting in Ankara to get the Taliban on board for quality peace.
Subsequently, the ministers “called on all parties for an immediate ceasefire. Moreover, a unanimously called for the Taliban to reaffirm their commitment to achieving an inclusive negotiated settlement. That would lead to lasting peace in Afghanistan desired by the Afghan people, the region and the international community”, according to the joint statement.
The Challenges of Troop Withdrawal
Meanwhile, the fighter squadrons prepare an aircraft carrier in the region, that could provide additional cover in case the US and other NATO forces come under fire as they depart by a Sept. 11 deadline set by President Joe Biden. The request by Gen. Kenneth McKenzie underscores concern at the Pentagon that the Taliban may choose to launch attacks on NATO troops as they pull out. There are no reports yet of a final decision on the request of Gen. McKenzie.
Furthermore, President Ashraf Ghani said Afghanistan is prepared for the foreign troops to pull out of the country after the decades-long war. He stated that a real opportunity for peace has emerged after so many years. The president said it in a security meeting at the Presidential palace on Sunday.
Most importantly, the reason behind the Taliban not attending the conference is simple. They want an implementation of a peace agreement held in Doha, Qatar. One of the clauses agreed was the “foreign forces exit Afghanistan before May 1”. However, the US has started troops withdrawal from May 1. Which will complete on September 11. This is the major reason why the Taliban are not participating in the conference.
Moreover, it is perceived by the Taliban as a violation of the agreement by the US delaying the troops’ pullout from Afghanistan. Also, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Hizb-i-Islami Afghanistan’s leader, said that delay in pulling out the allied forces from the country was a ‘setback’ to the Doha agreement signed in February 2020.
Currently, the US delay of the withdrawal of the forces has the upset Taliban which complicates the pursuit of the upcoming conference in Istanbul.
US Role; Khalilzad’s Visit to Afghanistan
In addition to this, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US official envoy met President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace. They discussed progress in the peace talks, and the future of Afghanistan. Khalilzad guaranteed president Ghani that the US will play its role in establishing a long-lasting harmony in Afghanistan.
Moreover, Khalilzad’s visit at this time emphasizes the caution that the US needs in its handling of the Afghan Peace Process. The most recent development, in this case, has been the decision to delay troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Consequently, aid and assistance are promised by the US and NATO. The US has pledged $300 million for economic projects, anti-drug programs, health, education, and women empowerment. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that “President Biden was clear that while the United States will withdraw military forces from Afghanistan, our support for the country will continue.”
Furthermore, as the Americans are withdrawing their troops, they will use their civilian and economic assistance to advance a just and durable peace for Afghanistan and a brighter future for the Afghan people, the statement of Blinken included.
In Conclusion, a concern for all parties in domestic and international politics should be the Modus Operandi. Particularly for withdrawal of forces. It should be clear to all of them what is the future aspect of the US. It is a regional concern as the US’s actions will impact the regional dynamics.
Moreover, the US has also taken confirmation from all the neighbors of Afghanistan for the sake of quality peace and to avoid any calamity in the future.