Topic: General Studies 3:
- India and its neighborhood- relations.
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
US-Taliban pact (Doha Agreement)
After nearly a year long negotiation, USA has signed a peace agreement with Taliban (Afghan government not a signatory). India attended the signing ceremony in Doha, and was represented by Ambassador to Qatar.
Separately, a joint declaration between the Afghan government (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan) and the US was issued in Kabul.
Brief background to the deal
- USA went into Afghanistan in October 2001, a few weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, with the goals of defeating terrorists (particularly Al-Qaeda) and rebuilding and stabilising the country.
- USA’s war in Afghanistan is said to be the longest war (19 years) in its history.
- The Afghan war is estimated to have cost $2-trillion, with more than 3,500 American and coalition soldiers killed.
- Afghanistan lost hundreds of thousands of people, both civilians and soldiers.
- After all these, the Taliban is at its strongest moment since the U.S. launched the war. It now controls half of the country, mainly in its hinterlands.
- The war had entered into a stalemate long ago and the U.S. failed to turn it around despite both American Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump having sent additional troops.
- Faced with no other way, the U.S. just wants to leave Afghanistan.
Key elements of the US-Taliban Pact:
- Troops Withdrawal:The US will draw down to 8,600 troops in 135 days from the present 14000 troops. And all troops will be out within 14 months.
The alliance and its partners in Afghan security mission, known as “Resolute”, would reduce their military presence in the country in recognition of the new agreement. At present, resolute consists of 17000 troops from 39 countries
- Taliban Commitment: Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies (does not include India)
- Intra-Afghan Negotiations: Taliban would engage with Kabul government directly from March 10th to find a lasting solution to the civil war
4.Sanctions Removal: UN sanctions on Taliban leaders to be removed by three months (by May 29) and US sanctions by August 27.
Pakistan has been accused of giving refugee to some these sanctioned persons and this has been one of the reasons for Pakistan being in FATF grey list (supporting terrorists)
- Prisoner Release: Up to 5,000 imprisoned Taliban and up to 1,000 prisoners from “the other side” held by Taliban “will be released” by March 10 — which is when intra-Afghan negotiations are supposed to start, in Oslo
- Ceasefire: The agreement states ceasefire will be simply “an item on the agenda” when intra-Afghan talks start, and indicates actual ceasefire will come with the “completion” of an Afghan political agreement.
Part II of the article – will deal with Challenges w.r.t the deal and Implications of deal on India
Connecting the dots
- P5+1 deal with Iran
- Impact of Taliban’s victory on the other extremists in the region