The Taliban and Afghan leaders have come to a historic peace agreement that could end the decades long US war and other violence in Afghanistan. After rounds of talks in Doha, Qatar, the two sides have more or less come to a mutual agreement on a civilian government with an “Islamic framework”.
BBC reports that the agreement is non-binding and that the Taliban and the US are still negotiating the specifics of the US’ withdrawal of its troops. The agreement will also include a ceasefire, anti-terrorism efforts, and an end to violence against civilians.
“It’s not an agreement, it’s a foundation to start the discussion… The good part was that both sides agreed,” said Mary Akrami, executive director of Afghan Women’s Network, who participated in the talks.
Other delegates told the media that the talks between the Taliban and Afghan leaders were a landmark of their own. Some said that the non-violent, constructive dialogue gave Afghans hope of a better future.
US-Afghanistan-Taliban peace talks in Qatar
Peace talks among Afghanistan, US, and the Taliban have been on-going in Qatar for the past few weeks. Officials from all three parties had congregated to discuss terms for American troops’ withdrawal and the future of Afghanistan’s government.
Until now, the talks were fraught with disagreement over the timeline of US troops’ withdrawal.
The US and Afghanistan wanted assurances of counter terrorism efforts and dialogue with Ashraf Ghani’s government from the Taliban. But the Taliban refused to engage with Ghani’s officials, claiming they were “puppets” of the US.
The Taliban also took issue with Ghani’s administration being designated as official representatives of Afghanistan and wanted equal footing in the peace talks. The Taliban eventually agreed to sit down with Afghan activists, non-profit leaders, journalists, and other well-known personalities to broker peace.
What a peace deal with the Taliban means
The Taliban originally came together as an anti-communist militia in Afghanistan in the ‘70s and ‘80s, during the Cold War.
The group was to be a proxy for the US in the region. However, over the years, the Taliban increased their stronghold in Afghanistan and imposed strict Sharia law in areas they controlled.
Tensions between the US and Taliban escalated after the 9/11 attack when US President George Bush accused the group of giving refuge to Osama bin Laden. Bush went so far as to invade Afghanistan with US troops, starting an almost two-decade war.
Afghanistan has since been divided between the Taliban and Ghani’s internationally recognised government and disturbed by American presence.
India has provided humanitarian aid to Afghanistan through the Chabahar Port in Iran and advocated for counter-terrorism in South Asia after the Pulwama attack in Kashmir killed 40 CRPF soliders.
A reduction in terrorism is in India’s interest, but the country must also consider the influenceof Pakistan in Afghanistan. India has long advocated for Afghanistan to have an independent government, but any direct involvement will likely trigger more urnest.
Rhea Arora is a Staff Writer at Qrius