„The agreement reflects a common determination by the parties to reach a negotiated solution. This is an important development that contributes to the success of the internal negotiations that we all hope for,“ he said. Afghan peace talks have stalled, at least for now. The violence has intensified, and there have been revelations that the unit of GROUP 29155 , a component of the Russian military secret services, has provided assistance to the Taliban, including mud. None of this portends good things for a quick solution to the war. A peace deal that would prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism would allow the United States to withdraw its troops – from 14,000 U.S. troops to 8,600 this year – and reduce its security and development assistance. An agreement is particularly desirable, as the United States is dealing with budgetary pressure due to the new coronavirus pandemic and competition from countries such as China. But getting an acceptable peace agreement will be a challenge. It is not clear – and perhaps unlikely – that the Taliban take an agreement seriously. Taliban leaders led by Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada may well negotiate only to persuade U.S.
troops to withdraw so that Taliban troops can overthrow the Afghan government. And even if the Taliban negotiate in good faith, important issues must be resolved, from political power sharing to the role of Islam and women`s rights. At this point, an agreement would make the most of a bad situation. In the face of these challenges, the risk of the peace process collapsing or innocuous is considerable. In both cases, U.S. pressure to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan would likely increase. Some Republicans and Democrats are already in favour of a total withdrawal of American forces, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. But, as I said in a recent report,“A failed afghanistan peace treaty,“ the withdrawal of the United States would be a mistake, especially if the Taliban are largely responsible. The United States still has interests in Afghanistan, such as preventing the country from becoming a sanctuary for terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Self-proclaimed Islamic State; avoid regional instability as Afghanistan`s neighbours, including India and Pakistan, compete for influence; Minimize the likelihood of a major humanitarian crisis; and prevent American competitors such as Iran and Russia from filling the void. Moreover, a abrupt withdrawal from the United States in the absence of a peace agreement would raise serious questions among partners about the reliability of the United States. Given the current difficulties of the peace process, the United States should be prepared to maintain several thousand U.S.
forces in Afghanistan – along with diplomats and secret service agents – for the foreseeable future, especially when taliban intransigence is a major cause of internal negotiations in Afghanistan that have collapsed or broken down. While the Donald J. Trump administration appears to be moving in the opposite direction by further reducing the number of U.S. military by the November election, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is significant as long as there are serious threats to U.S. national security – such as the presence of international terrorist groups – in the country.