Topic: General Studies 2:
- India and its neighbourhood relations
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
War and talks: On Taliban ceasefire
Context: The Taliban’s decision to cease fire for three days during Id-ul-Adha
Significance of the ceasefire: It has come as a relief for Afghans who have seen unabated violence despite a peace agreement between the insurgents and the U.S
A Bad Precedent w.r.t Taliban Ceasefires
- In June 2018 and May 2020, the Taliban had briefly ended hostilities to mark the end of the holy month of Ramzan.
- On both occasions, it refused to extend the ceasefire, returning to war as soon as the celebrations were over.
Is there a renewed hope that ceasefire will extend beyond festivities?
- This time, however, hopes are high that the truce could be extended as Kabul and the insurgents are preparing to launch the intra-Afghan talks that were promised in the U.S.-Taliban deal (supposed to start in March 2020).
What Stalled the Intra-Afghan Talks which were to begin in March 2020?
- Preconditions not met: Both sides failed to reach an agreement on prisoner exchange, that was considered necessary for peace talks to begin as per US-Taliban deal
- Infighting in Afghan Government
- 2019 election results were contested by the main Opposition candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, who formed a parallel administration –resulting in divided Afghan govt.
- Abdulla Abdullah came back with Afghan govt. only after being appointed the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation that will lead talks with the Taliban.
- Slow Progress of Deal: Finally, President Ghani decided to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, which was followed by the Taliban’s ceasefire announcement.
Challenges Ahead for Intra-Afghan Talks
There are various loopholes in the US-Taliban deal which makes it harder for various stakeholders to reconcile
- When the U.S. entered into talks with the insurgent group, it did not insist on a ceasefire
- So the Taliban continues to engage in war and talks simultaneously.
- The Americans, badly looking for a way out of the conflict, kept the Afghan government out of the peace process, thus weakening their position
- The onus was on a weakened Afghan government to start talks even as the Taliban continued attacks.
The Taliban’s ceasefire is an opportunity to kick-start intra-Afghan peace talks
Connecting the dots:
- Heart of Asia
- Consequences of US-Taliban Deal on India’s security interests