Afghanistan drifting towards messier fighting, giving Taliban no incentive to make peace: EFSAS

Amsterdam [Netherlands], October 13 (ANI): Afghanistan has been in perpetual in-fighting for over four decades now and the ejection of the Taliban in 2001 increased violence levels in the country, according to a European-based Think Tank.

October 13, 2020

World

5 min

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Amsterdam [Netherlands], October 13 (ANI): Afghanistan has been in perpetual in-fighting for over four decades now and the ejection of the Taliban in 2001 increased violence levels in the country, according to a European-based Think Tank.
European Foundation For South Asian Studies (EFSAS), in a commentary, said that in June, the Global Peace Index 2020, from the Institute for Economics and Peace, released its 14th edition which ranked Afghanistan as the least peaceful country on the planet, which it took over from Syria in 2019. The Global Terrorism Index of 2019 assesses that the position of the deadliest terrorist group has now been taken by the Taliban.
A reduction of violence in February this year allowed the US and Taliban to sign a peace deal that was aimed at the withdrawal of American troops within 14 months and to facilitate further talks between the US and Taliban. Despite the fact that the talks have begun, violence has resumed at a lower level and is slowly increasing. The coronavirus alongside adding to the pressure to the economy is also affecting the Afghan armed forces.
The EFSAS quoted Associate Director of Centre on International Cooperation (CIC), Barnett Rubin, as saying, “I have no idea. There are too many imponderables. If you had asked five years ago what Afghanistan would be like today, I would have been completely wrong and I don’t expect that I would be right this time”.
Afghanistan and the international community were looking forward anxiously to the withdrawal of NATO at the end of December 2014.
“In the months and years after, there was no regime implosion. Financial aid, military support, and training assistance continued to flow into the Afghan government. And even the relatively small international military presence could still ward off the Taliban, particularly through airpower, mentoring and intelligence support for the Afghan National Army (ANA),” the think tank said. “But the situation facing Afghanistan is now different and I believe we are in a worse situation than in 2014. Most crucially, the Taliban do not look as if they have genuine compromise in mind,” the think tank added.
It noted, “The international military transition that began in 2011 has transformed into a faster and more obvious US retreat after four years of Donald Trump’s leadership. The Taliban and the US are largely avoiding each striking each other. This will permit the US to withdraw quickly – something that both the Taliban and the US find convenient for their own agendas.”
“The same corrosive strategic circumstances will plague Afghanistan. ‘Central government is weak, corrupt, and divided…Pakistan has historically supported the Taliban. Its policies in relation to Afghanistan are still opaque.” It comments upon the cultural and religious attitudes to women and says that it is hampering the education and employment of millions,” the EFSAS said.
The think tank said in its commentary that certain factors will determine the direction Afghanistan will take in the next few years which include a credible ceasefire, support from the international community, and clarity on the Taliban’s motives, among many others.
“In the case of Afghanistan, it seems as if all successful scenarios require four things – continued international support, genuine Taliban willingness to compromise, major reductions in violence (ideally a ceasefire) and for the Afghan army hold together. Conversely, scenarios with negative outcomes will be characterized by meddling neighbours, increasing terrorism (e.g. AQ, IS), and fragmented government,” EFSAS commented.
The author of the article, Timothy Foxley concluded by saying, “Over twenty years, I have seen many surges of optimism come and go. There are few “good” realistic outcomes in the current circumstances. In only the first scenario do human rights and the rights of women make any significant advance. My view is that we are slowly drifting towards more and messier fighting for several years, perhaps even five or ten (scenarios three and four). If, after this, the Afghan government, the army, and the police have held together, then perhaps the Taliban might recognize the need for compromise. I do not believe that the Taliban yet have sufficient incentive to compromise to make peace talks a genuine success.” (ANI)

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