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Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan

  • Category
    India & world
  • Published
    11th Mar, 2020

The United States has signed an agreement with Taliban insurgents that could pave the way for ending the 18-year-war in Afghanistan in Doha (Qatar).

Context

The United States has signed an agreement with Taliban insurgents that could pave the way for ending the 18-year-war in Afghanistan in Doha (Qatar).

About

Highlights of the Agreement

  • Military troops withdrawal: It lays out a 14-month timetable for the withdrawal of “all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel.”
  • Release of prisoners: The agreement also calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 “prisoners of the other side” on the first day of intra-Afghan negotiations. The relevant sides have the goal of releasing all the remaining prisoners over the course of the subsequent three months.
  • Comprehensive Ceasefire between the Afghan Government and Taliban.
  • The prevention of the use of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies.
  • Facilitation of an intra-Afghan dialogue: The participants of intra-Afghan negotiations will discuss the date and modalities of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, including agreement over the future political roadmap of Afghanistan.

Background

  • The war in Afghanistan was launched by the US in 2001 after the 9/11 attack. The US-led coalition aimed to overthrow the Taliban.
  • However, the war in Afghanistan got derailed as the U.S. shifted focus and resources towards Iraq from 2003 onwards.
  • The end objective of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan began to recede as the Taliban launched their insurgency in 2005 after they had recovered, regrouped and refinanced themselves from their sanctuary in Pakistan.
  • Since then, the insurgency has gathered momentum and also exposed the U.S 's policy weaknesses.
  • After taking over in 2009, President Barack Obama authorised a surge in U.S. troop presence with the objective to gain a decisive victory over the insurgency. He simultaneously announced the drawdown of forces would commence in 2011, and by 2014 the Afghan security forces would take charge of all combat operations.
  • However, this only encouraged the Taliban insurgency and exposed the shortcomings of the Afghan army and the police forces, in terms of numbers, training and equipment to deal with the post-2014 situation.
  • In 2014, the U.S. announced the withdrawal of the bulk of soldiers but a few thousand U.S. soldiers were to stay behind to “advise, train and assist” the Afghan security forces under Operation Resolute Support.
  • In 2017, the U.S. President Donald Trump laid out a strategy for “Afghanistan and South Asia”.
  • His policy was different from those of his predecessors as it stated that American involvement in Afghanistan was “not for nation-building” but was limited to “killing terrorists.”
  • He called this policy “Principled Realism” - with a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. This policy was based on two pillars:
  • Military Involvement: The additional troops which would serve two roles: counterterrorism missions and training the Afghan forces.
  • Political Involvement: A negotiated political settlement with the Taliban, if the situation moves in that direction.
  • Since October 2018, Taliban representatives and US officials have been meeting to chalk out a peace treaty.

India’s Stand

  • India has been always supportive of the inclusive peace process, specifically Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled.
  • The participation of the Afghan government’s delegation during the Doha agreement as well as the upcoming intra-Afghan peace negotiations would be following the path desired by India.
  • The deal has reiterated India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s pursuit of “sustainable peace and reconciliation”.
  • Thus, India has accepted the Doha Agreement (2020).

Conclusion

Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require more than the Doha Agreement. It is indeed a good step for peace in Aisa as well in Afghanistan. To resolve conflict within Afghanistan, the battlefield needs to be isolated i.e. external support to the terrorist activities needs to be abandoned. Also, the countries need to keep their respective interests aside, to build peace in the region.

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