US reviewing Afghanistan Strategy

Afghan government is looking for stability and afraid at the same time that the Americans may leave. While Afghan Taliban ostensibly are looking for instability but afraid at the same time that the Americans may stay. But everyone is asking reconciliation talks for Afghan peace.

The confused America is considering joining the direct talks with Taliban, in an attempt to end the 17 year-long war in Afghanistan.The possibility of the talks between Washington and the Taliban is in the early stage, said the U.S. and Afghan officials to the Washington Post.
“There is renewed attention but no clear negotiating strategy and no personnel to carry out real talks,” said a U.S. official.

While on the other hand, the Taliban have long refused direct talks with the Afghan government, demanding instead to negotiate with Washington. The militants have persisted in that stance despite Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unilateral extension of a holiday cease-fire last month in hopes of encouraging the militants to come to the bargaining table.

The unprecedented, three-day cease-fire by both sides had offered a rare glimpse of peace for Afghans during which militants fraternized with security force members.

After nearly 17 years of fighting, it is clear that the war in Afghanistan has no military solution at a price either the country or its partners is willing to pay. So Pakistan is right in this regard and very clear in its stance on Afghan conflict to resolve and so on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is right also to have made a far-reaching peace offer to the Taliban.

Afghanistan for Pakistan remained a key diplomatic challenge for Pakistan in 2017, with various strategic, securities, economic and internal political implications.

For the United States, the last remaining national security objective is to prevent the country from ever again becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups bent on attacking the homeland.

All other arguments and objectives for US staying, such as establishing a Western-style democracy, developing Afghanistan’s hobbling economy, and improving the lives of the Afghan people, are both laudable and important. But none of them alone can justify the continued commitment of US troops and morale.

The America is also under pressure by the international community and equally from its own people to justify its long stay at Afghanistan. After four decades of conflict in Afghanistan, a convincing peace process was still not assured, the top United Nations official for that country told the Security Council.

The only two possibilities due to which America cannot stay in Afghanistan forever if it is assumed- to ensuring terrorist safe havens are not re-established in Afghanistan and secondly the Afghan government must become strong and stable enough to fully patrol and effectively control the country, thereby preventing safe havens for terrorist groups from forming, or the Taliban must lose interest in establishing these safe havens in the first place.

But another reason which being valued more than afore mentioned reasons, internationally and in the region South Asia also that is, basically, America wants to stay there to influence this region and included countries especially its rival China.

Pakistan faces difficulty when to decide that how to contribute to Afghan peace while carefully balancing between these coercive and soft postures.

The US and China think the road to peace in Afghanistan goes through Pakistan in terms of its capacity to put pressure on the Afghan Taliban for joining negotiations and to help weaken the insurgents’ military strength and strengthen Afghanistan’s economy through multiple connectivity projects.

But their road maps differ. The US prefers Afghanistan’s transit trade and a Central Asian energy corridor with India, while China priorities trade and energy in the direction of its western regions.

A Kabul-based think tank, the Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies, released findings of a public survey in which 64 per cent of respondents believed the government had no real will to bring about peace and that is why the peace process with the Afghan Taliban is not successful.

Afghanistan’s next elections can set up the bedrock for sustainable democratic institutions in the country, scheduled on 20 October this year.

The conflict appears stalemated, with insurgents controlling or contesting more than 40 percent of the country. The U.N. mission in Afghanistan said Sunday that 1,692 civilians were killed in violence in the first six months of this year, the highest six-month death toll since the systematic documentation of civilian casualties started in 2009.

Published in Melange intl. Magazine in August 2018.

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About Bilal Hussain 3 Articles
The writer is Staff Reporter & Content Writer in Melange International Magazine &The Asian Telegraph.