Designing the Afghan future

The United State’s decision to strengthen peace in Afghanistan and empowering the Taliban to form a combined government with the Afghan’s may see the light of day. But at what cost? The Trump administration are doing their utmost to carry out this resolve by bringing both Afghan government and the Taliban on the table. In the successive Doha and Moscow meetings most of the issues are being discussed.

Some issues of Islamic sharia based constitution and women’s emancipation are being worked out. Taliban have stated that they will allow a more inclusive approach towards women that the Islamic law allows. While the final dates of the United State’s 14000 serving soldiers’ exit have to be clearly outlined, it is clear that the US wants the Afghani people to run their state of affairs. But it needs to be seen that a smooth transition is a possibility at all.

Both meets though involved Hamid Karzai and excluded President Ghani, , many of his government officials were involved in the talks. Many of the serving Afghan government officials were on Taliban side in the past. The Taliban spokesperson is confident that their 4 decades of struggle in the country has won them significant influence, hoping that the shift would be smooth and benefit the country.

The Imran Khan government and the military are entering these negotiations with a new intent. Government in Islamabad has been active in getting Taliban to the table and avowed to help its neighbouring brothers in Afghanistan become independent and peaceful. The release of Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar is perhaps one of the most notable public signs of Pakistan’s willingness to aid the negotiations.

Peace in the region is a top priority for Islamabad. CPEC projects, IMF agreement and a possible partnership with Russia promises to bring incredible financial opportunities to the country. Bothe the government and the military want to ensure that the country is not only secure internally but that its borders and relations with the neighbours improve so that they can work in collaboration on economic ventures. Islamabad has assured the United States that a warring Afghanistan is no longer in its interest.

However, skeptics within Kabul and Islamabad are cautiously observing the advancing negotiations. One concern is that a hurried US pull-out will not indemnify peace in the country, but usher it in the throes of chaos. Civil society activists worry that a Taliban-style government could be more authoritarian than democratic and may create obstacles in the progress of all segments of the society. However sincere, Islamabad is weary of its relationship with the past Taliban government in Kabul who has its own version of Pakistani borders with Afghanistan.

The picture could become yet clear for the fate of Afghanistan. Towards 21st of February Prince Salman of Saudi Arab is visiting China and India and the next round of Taliban talks with Afghans, the US and Pakistan are expected on the 25th. These meeting and the backdoor diplomacy will pave the way for US to successfully keep its influence in the region and counter Iran.

We hope that the United States is willing to address the reservations of the Afghans who fear that the a Taliban-style government may take them back to days of extremism.

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