US-Taliban Peace Deal What next?
Zafar Iqbal Yousafzai
Finally, the United States and Taliban have signed a peace deal in Doha, the capital of Qatar, after 18-month-long negotiations. As per the terms of the agreement, the United States will start withdrawing its troops within 135 days of the deal and will have to complete it within fourteen months—as per an announcement by a spokesman for US Forces in Afghanistan, the troop withdrawal started on March 09. On the eve of deal-signing ceremony, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the deal was conditional and that the Taliban would have to keep its promises; must cut its ties with the Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups; and keep continue fighting against the ISIS. On various grounds, questions are being raised on the future setup in Afghanistan as there are apprehensions that the country might again plunge in a civil war like that of the 1990s.
Why this peace deal has come so late and why Washington has finally given up on a military solution? What will be the potential future setup and whether it will sustain or unravel again? What would be the implications of the US withdrawal and how it would differ from the Soviet withdrawal? What role the Taliban would play in the Afghan parliament? Would the future setup, where the Taliban will be a part of the government or at least a political force, be successful without any fear of spiralling into yet another conflict? What would be the input of the regional countries to the future political landscape of Afghanistan? All these questions warrant answers but most of the experts, in one way or another, are in disarray vis-à-vis the future political setup in Afghanistan.
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