THE AFGHAN CONUNDRUM
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Diplomatist|July 2021
On 29 February 2020, the government of the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement in Doha which shall ensure self-determination for Afghanistan.
KANCHI MATHUR

Introduction

The agreement was the first step in ending the four-decade-long war in the country which was rife with internal and external challenges unleashing unfathomed human rights excesses for Afghan citizens. Post-September 2021, the full control of Afghanistan shall be in the hands of the Taliban, with the world looking at how the nation fares alone and independent an anarchic world system.

The US is leaving; what now?

A joint declaration announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper outlined a “four-stage process for a comprehensive and sustainable peace agreement” which was expected to “culminate” into a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” between the Taliban and the US-allied forces. In June 2021, US President Joe Biden remarked that the withdrawal of the US and other allied forces shall be ‘absolute’ in nature and that “any residual US military presence in Afghanistan would be focused only on counter-terrorism.”

The withdrawal is expected to be completed by the end of September 2021, sowing the seeds for a 360-degree turn in the role and character of the Taliban in the politics of Afghanistan with the organization increasingly being accountable for its acts and policies.

While US withdrawal from Afghanistan has been in the works for quite a number of years, many analysts argue that the sudden announcement of withdrawal of forces by President Biden wasn’t a well-thought-out move.

According to Ohio Rep. Mike Turner, a senior Republican on the house Armed Services Committee, the rapid withdrawal of US forces can be seen as “more of a surrender than a withdrawal.” The senior republican representative argued that “Biden irresponsibly abandoned Afghan forces without warning.”

With a majority of political power in the hands of the Taliban, the fragile internal and external sociopolitical construction of Afghanistan stands exposed to the temperamentalities of this ‘new- state actor.’

Challenges for the Taliban and Afghan Government

Analysts compartmentalize the Afghan crisis in three interlocking circles. The innermost of those is internal civil war and conflict that has been ongoing since April 2019. The intermediate circle involves the role and meddling of regional powers many of whom have been actively involved since 1979. The outermost ring constitutes the involvement of international forces since October 2001 which would include the United States.

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On 29 February 2020, the government of the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement in Doha which shall ensure self-determination for Afghanistan.

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