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Why the Afghan peace talks are important

V Nivedita Chennai | Updated on September 12, 2019 Published on September 11, 2019

US President Donald Trump tweeted that talks with the Taliban are "dead". File Photo   -  Bloomberg

On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, there seems to be no end to US' war in Afghanistan

On 9th September, US President Donald Trump told the reporters that talks with the Taliban are "dead" after the terrorist organisation took responsibility for an attack where 12 people, including a US soldier, died. This is the latest act of violence in Taliban's latest run of terror.

Read more: Trump says Taliban talks ‘dead’, US military to ramp up Afghanistan operations

 

This decision is rather sudden, as the US and the Taliban had been making great headway in the negotiations to facilitate the end of US' longest war. Many high ranking officials from both sides were actively involved in the dialogue. In a series of tweets, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said that they were on the threshold of an agreement that will reduce violence in the region.

Also read: US, Taliban on ‘threshold’ of deal: US Afghan envoy

President Trump had gone so far as to invite a delegation from the Taliban for talks in the highly prestigious Camp David just days before the 18th anniversary of the 09/11 attacks. This invitation, which was extended in secret, drew ire from all sections of the political spectrum when this news became public.

Trump was also supposed to separately meet with the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, in the same summit. This meeting would have served to appraise the elected government of the progress in peace talks since the Taliban had objected to the presence of any Afghan government officials in the talks.

This is because of an ongoing power struggle between the government and Taliban, which now controls more territory than at any time since the war in Afghanistan started in 2001, even as negotiators were working on an accord to end the fighting. The situation is becoming more volatile as the Taliban has stepped up its terrorist activities as the nation prepares for twice-delayed presidential elections scheduled for the end of the month.

Trump's decision to pull out of the talks is important because the US is finally admitting that talks with the Taliban will be fruitless as long as the Afghan government is kept out of it. The only way for long term peace to return to the war-torn nation is only possible if its people are involved in the decision-making process. When the elected government is not a party to the talks, how can this be achieved?

Trump's political compulsions ahead of the 2020 US presidential elections should not dictate the schedule of the peace talks. For a country that is already suffering greatly, any ill thought out moves could result in civil war and the international community would be forced to step in to avoid a return to the dark days Taliban rule

Published on September 11, 2019
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