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December 19, 2020

U.s. Agreement With Taliban

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On 14 August 2020, Fawzia Koofi, one of 21 members of the Afghan peace team, was attacked by armed men along with her sister Maryam Koofi near Kabul. Fawzia Koofi is a prominent human rights activist in Afghanistan who defends the Taliban. She was also part of the team that represented the Afghan government in peace talks with the Taliban. [140] The agreement also provides that the Taliban and the Afghan government will begin a “dialogue and negotiations” on 10 March 2020, a date that has already expired. The specific themes of this “dialogue and negotiations” are not specified, but they should at least include the role of the Taliban in a future Afghan government, the role of Islamic law in the Afghan constitution, the protection and rights of women and other minorities and, ultimately, the direction of the country. As a precursor to intra-Afghan negotiations, the agreement states that the United States is ready to cooperate “with all parties concerned” in the release of war prisoners and political prisoners. The agreement provided that the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners by March 10, 2020 and that the Taliban would release 1,000 Afghan prisoners. The release of the prisoners is described as a “spokesman for trust” to stimulate talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. After the march, Ghani and the Taliban agreed to a ceasefire during Eid al-Fitr celebrations in June 2018. During the Eid ceasefire, Taliban people flocked to Kabul, where they met and communicated with local security and state security forces. Although civilians called for a permanent ceasefire, the Taliban refused to extend and resumed fighting after the ceasefire ended on June 18, while the Afghan government`s ceasefire ended a week later. [70] [71] One way to do this would be to prevent negotiating teams from agreeing on issues such as political power-sharing agreements (including national, provincial or regional), the Afghan constitution, the role of religion, women`s rights, persistent violence, the return of prisoners and future elections. The February 2020 agreement between the United States and the Taliban did not address these issues in a serious way and potentially poses enormous challenges.

Despite such problems, a peace agreement preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism would allow the United States to withdraw its troops and reduce its security and development assistance, which exceeded $800 billion between 2001 and 2019. An agreement is particularly desirable, as the United States focuses on competition with China and Russia and the United States is addressing the budgetary pressure exerted by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Peace agreements generally have implementation mechanisms that make each party accountable for its commitments. This is not the case with the Taliban agreement. It contains no provision on what will happen if the Taliban break their promises, with the exception of the United States, which stops its withdrawal. The Qataris, who are hosting peace talks in Afghanistan, do not have the official power to push the parties to comply. At a conference in Kabul, the Danes said the insurgents did not believe in a peaceful solution to the conflict. “We [the Afghan government] have neither signed nor ratified this agreement [the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement] and, from our point of view and commitments, we are not responsible for the details of its contents,” he added. Initially, Afghan President Ghani announced that he would not release Taliban prisoners, but by March 15, 2020, a few days after the start of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, he announced the release of 1,500 Taliban prisoners.