How can Taliban expel Americans from Afghanistan, through war or peace?

Sunday, 04 March 2018 03:27 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 167 times

One of the major barriers to peace in Afghanistan is the reliance of Afghan sides of the war on foreigners. Each side is trying to portray the other side overly dependent so that it can attract support on the one hand, and create a pretext for the protraction of war on the other hand. The Taliban call Afghan government a puppet regime of the United States and the West, and therefore refuse to come to the negotiating table with the government, which in turn, has so far tried to characterize the Taliban as a mere “Pakistani phenomenon”, stressing that it should rather sort out the “Taliban issue” with Islamabad than Taliban representatives. This blame game of portraying each other as over-reliant on foreigners has so far thwarted virtually all peace efforts. 


President Ghani’s peace overture to the Taliban shows the government has shown significant flexibility towards the group by recognizing it as a major party to the Afghan conflict, regardless of their foreign supporters. The move addressed a part of the problem based on which emphasis was placed on talking to their foreign backers than the Taliban themselves. Thus, the ball is in Taliban’s court now, and they have to decide whether or not they want peace in the country. 

President Ghani’s peace plan may have flaws, but it is feasible taking into account the conditions set. Following Afghan government’s U-turn on peace, it is now time for the Taliban to follow suit, and enter into intra-Afghan peace negotiations with the government than talk first to the United States. President Ghani’s peace offer not only has been widely welcome inside the country, but a number of regional states have also lent their weight to it, and insisted on peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict. If Afghan government succeeds in securing the full support of all regional countries, including those currently supporting the militants, it will become more difficult for the Taliban to fight against the government. If the Taliban venture on simultaneously opening two fronts -- one against their foreign backers, and another against the Afghan government and its Western allies, it will become squarely impossible for them to secure a military victory. 

While the Taliban want the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, their continued insurgency gives Americans a pretext to stay in the country. So to leave no excuse, they have to come to the negotiating table with Afghan government, and then both join hands to eliminate all the factors the United States is using to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan. As long as the Taliban continue to fight, Afghan people will not be willing to support US pullout from Afghanistan for fear that they would experience a repeat of the bitter past of the civil war in 90s.


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