After two decades of fighting an unending conflict in Afghanistan, United States has announced to completely withdraw its forces by September 11. During the past two decades, three US presidents, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump failed to deliver on their promises regarding Afghanistan. The prospects of achieving peace in Afghanistan is still far. It is still regardless of the fact that the United States is withdrawing its troops. This only strengthens the established fact that Afghanistan is the Graveyard of empires.
Roadmap to the Prospects of Peace in Afghanistan
The discussion on the future of Afghanistan to take place at the much-anticipated Istanbul conference. The conference will reschedule after Ramadan. However, foreign ministers of Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in a trilateral meeting in Turkey have called on the Afghan Taliban to reaffirm their commitment. A commitment for an immediate ceasefire, ending the violence and ensuring a favourable atmosphere to pursue peace talks. The quest for a diplomatic solution to the Afghan conflict is based on the widely held consensus that no military solution exists, and a long-term power-sharing agreement amongst the stakeholders is the only path to ensured peace.
As the Biden administration announced to review the peace deal between the Taliban and the United States, uncertainty in the Afghan conflict has tremendously increased. Overlapping developments have diminished the Doha Agreement. Simultaneously, different stakeholders of Afghanistan have presented renewed peace plans to decide the future of the country. The political leadership of Afghanistan presented around 25 peace plans to the National Peace Council. This includes the peace plan of President Ghani. On the other hand, the United States had also presented its future peace plan for Afghanistan. At the Istanbul summit, The Afghan government will present one peace plan. Reportedly, the plan has two options for Afghanistan to move forward. It includes a presidential and non-presidential system while a timeframe for the transitional period has not been decided yet.
Though a final roadmap will be decided in the Istanbul summit, yet President Ghani on multiple occasions has strongly opposed the concept of a transition government, however wholistically Afghanistan is left with no other choice. Domestic stakeholders of the Afghan conflict are divided. Afghan government and Taliban present completely deviating views about the future of Afghanistan. While presenting his peace plan at the Ninth Heart of Asia summit in Tajikistan, President Ghani reiterated that elections must take place before he steps aside. On the other hand, the Taliban have also recently announced their idea of an Islamic system in Afghanistan. Taliban have opposed the democratic system in the country. They stated that the restoration of a true Islamic system can ensure a prosperous and successful future for Afghanistan.
There are many different divergent ideas for peace in Afghanistan. The least expected is the idea of a transitional government in Afghanistan. First of all, President Ghani will make his utmost efforts to negate the idea of a transitional setup. Although, if a transitional setup is agreed upon by the Taliban and the Afghan government in the Istanbul summit, the political setup in Afghanistan is anticipated to be in chaos due to conflicting ideas for the future of Afghanistan. Taliban will influence the setup to rewrite the new constitution according to Islamic principles. Whereas the Afghan government will make their utmost efforts to have a democratic constitution. In terms that are acceptable for the international stakeholders.
Peace Prospects for the Afghans
Moreover, the Taliban will also attempt to influence the security infrastructure of the country. The influence of US intelligence & ISAF will be minimized which may also create a rift between the transitional setup and the international stakeholders. Another bleak possibility is a civil war and takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Although, this is the unexpected. Predominantly because all the regional and international stakeholders of the Afghan conflict have negated the acceptance of Islamic Emirate as the rules of Afghanistan.
Prospects of Peace and stability in Afghanistan are conditional on unity amongst the Afghans themselves. An ideal transitional setup in Afghanistan will include representation from all the political parties including the Taliban. The transitional timeframe will decide the future of the state. This includes the future system of government that should be acceptable to Afghans themselves. Also acceptable to the international community and rewriting a democratic constitution by consensus that represents the Islamic values. Chaos and instability in Afghanistan will minimize with the passage of time. However, only if political stability is achieved by the transitional setup. It can be argued that after almost two decades of conflict, even if now the future of Afghanistan is uncertain. The United States claim of winning the war is not more than a self-appeasing statement.