Peace in Afghanistan; a distant dream
Both Americans and Taliban are claiming their victory, it remained to be seen whether the peace-deal is going to translate a long awaiting dream of peace into reality or post-1996 will be repeated.
After 18 months of negotiation finally, a peace-deal between America and Afghanistan was signed on 29 Feb. By opponents and proponents of War on Terror (WOT), It’s being hailed as a momentous event of the century what to a great extent is true. America and Taliban almost for 18 years have remained at loggerheads with each other, hopes for peace were killed long ago but with the recent move, it brought back a ray of hope to the region.
According to the deal, America will have to pull out her complete troops whilst Taliban will stick to their promise of Reduction in Violence. Although both sides are claiming to be the victorious party, inflicting great damage on its opposite side while securing an incredible feat for itself; it remained to be determined whether the peace is going to translate a long awaiting dream of peace into reality or post-1996 will be repeated. The hardest part of the negotiation between the US and Taliban has been worked out; the real work still lies ahead.
This all started when Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Centre, America’s demand for Osama bin Laden and Taliban’s refusal whatsoever kicked off WOT. After 18 years of grappling with Taliban, America is said to have spent $2.4 trillion; 4000 deaths from America-coalition and 150,000 have been reported from Afghan’s hoi polloi. Besides, human casualties, destruction and an air of violence have remained the mundane of Afghanistan.
Both Americans and Taliban claiming their victory, it remained to be seen whether the peace-deal is going to translate a long awaiting dream of peace into reality or post-1996 will be repeated.
Having spent 13 years in a futile war with little to nought results America and Taliban had to resort to the last option of “Negotiation”; opening office in Doha both parties commenced their journey towards peace. Despite swelling claims, reluctance of both parties knocked out peace-talk with zero success, disbanding it for another five years; in 2018 they were set to retain another round. Finally, a great day arrived, after one and a half year of dealing, US-Taliban found a path to peace.
In accordance with peace-deal, America will have to completely withdraw from Afghanistan, ceasefire from both sides will be ensured, Intra-Afghan dialogues be facilitated and Taliban will pledge not to allow Afghanistan’s soil to be used by armed groups against America or any other country. Still and all, both sides hold to follow these elements stringently.
Now America has 135 days to start pulling out its forces while 14 months to completely withdraw, scrutinizing the whole post-deal scenario way before leaving. America’s insistence on peace-deal without handling major issue i-e terrorism, is said to be her growing tedium with an unending war, America has brought home the fact that she couldn’t win war in Afghanistan so better to leave before it takes another gigantic toll on America’s economy, consequently, in the shape of peace-deal her lost face can be regained. Trump, at the same time, was another important factor behind the peace-deal. During election his rallying cry was to bring American Forces Back to home and Make America Great; having faced trial on impeachment, it became sine qua non for him to take his forces out of Afghanistan proving it a volte-face for election to come and definitely a trump card to rid of his tainted reputation.
For peace in the region, reconciliation between the militant groups and other parties is of vital importance otherwise a peaceful Afghanistan will remain merely a ‘daydream’.
Situation at Afghanistan’s domestic level is bleaker. There are factions and splinters of Taliban and various armed groups thriving to take control of Afghanistan. Though the big chunk of Afghanistan’s territory is under Taliban’s control, they have no specific leader or specific agenda of how to rule, all they have a vague system of Sharia to establish. In the absence of lucid and clear political dispensation, everyone is striving to be a bigwig of power; even during Peace talk, this conflict of interests was observed. In spite of Taliban’s assurance to pursue Reduction of Violence, other armed groups continued to carry out their violent attacks, for once compelling America to withdraw from peace-deal.
The Afghan government, under Ashraf Ghani is another legitimate claimant of share in power; surprisingly afghan government was entirely ignored amidst peace talk. Whereas America, in the beginning, insisted to include or make afghan government a third party of peace-deal, outright rejection of Taliban forced her to eat her words. Afghan government doesn’t seek a lion’s share but owing to her claim of representing the will of people demands a complete surrender of Taliban; with America’s withdrawal, a bloody clash between them can be imminent. To establish peace in Afghanistan, reconciliation between these various groups is of vital importance. Taliban, other armed groups and afghan government will have to be brought on the same page, without this peace will remain a reverie.
Peace-Deal for Afghans,
What peace deal offers to Afghans and especially to its women is a critical question that has been overlooked throughout peace procedure given its confrontation with a pessimistic image. Peace-deal was received with varying responses, ranging from fear to hopes. When some called it a victory of Islam for other it was a new start of terror. Liberal and leftists were queasy about republican future of Afghanistan while conservative hailed for Sharia, although Taliban promised to ensure equal rights for women, given their ultraconservative ideas, Afghan-women had hard time believing their promises.
Who won and who lost the war?
Apparently both parties are claiming to have won the war but reality on the ground is more depressing. It seems like both parties want to hoist their flag of victory on the debris of Afghanistan’s predicament. Recently some declassified reports have revealed the dark reality of American’s misadventure of WOT. According to the papers, America had been giving a false hope about an unwinnable war to her nation by telling ‘everything is fine’ ipso facto; she had been losing it, but was reluctant to acknowledge it, just like Vietnam. Their drone attacks, targeting civilian and destroying infrastructure through bombing drew a very sorry figure. Taliban on other side didn’t miss any chance of taking an immense toll on their own people. Killing, bombing and ruling with the help of force and infliction of fear have not just turned them into a repulsive actor but also has raised concerns of the world about their rule in the post-deal era.
The real winner of the war is and should be recognized the people of Afghanistan, unfortunately, the very victim of violence by every side. Afghans have born and grown into adulthood.
They have experienced war’s brunt at first hand; tens of thousands people have lost their lives, myriad of women have become widows, innumerable children have been maimed/amputated, while destruction and ruination have left them economic, mentally, physically and socially vulnerable. Yet, their hopes for future are high. They are welcoming a fresh start towards a stable and peaceful Afghanistan; a land where people don’t die of bombing or hunger, where children don’t lose their lives to drone attacks but have basic education and better physical health, and a climate that does not promote eerie feelings.
America and allied forces will have to ensure rapprochement between various armed groups, as well as between Taliban and Afghan government, without building intra-dialogue, any path to the peace is just wishful thinking. While there is obvious anxiety about what could be the future of Afghanistan, it’s scrolling into instability may not be around the corner as being predicted. No matter what the past suggests, hopes for a stable Afghanistan will continue to be upheld.