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War and talks: On Taliban ceasefire

  • IASbaba
  • August 3, 2020
  • 0
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INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY 

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 

For a brief background on US-Taliban Deal: Click Here (Part I) and Here (Part-II) 

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.  

Conclusion 

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 

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