New US administration and the Afghan problem | Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
On the 20th of January the United States of America transferred administrative power from Donald Trump to the new President, Joe Biden. Joe Biden will become the fourth American president to inherit the Afghan war from his predecessors at a time when the American public is wary of forever wars and looking forward to bringing this two-decade conflict to an end.
From among the three predecessors of Joe Biden, George W Bush was the one who sparked the inferno of war by invading Afghanistan. When Barak Obama came to power, he immediately planned a military strategy for Afghanistan instead of learning from the failures and bitter experiences of the Bush administration, increased troops levels to the maximum limit and believed he could solve this quandary through military means. But by the backend the his administrative term, the Obama administration understood that the Afghan problem has no military solution and must be resolved through dialogue.
After Donald Trump became the American president, he too failed to base his policy towards Afghanistan from lessons learnt during the Bush and Obama administrations, instead choosing to test mettle by announcing yet another military strategy to the backdrop of military band music. On top of increasing tempo of military operations, he also expanded propaganda war and employed political and, in the words of General Nicholson, religious pressure in order to win on the battlefield. But as anticipated, this military strategy also quickly began to unravel and the Trump administration reached a conclusion that this war can only come to an end through talks. Subsequently, negotiations were launched in Qatar and on the 10th of Hut, a Termination of Occupation Agreement was signed between the Islamic Emirate and the United States.
Now that the Biden administration has come power in America, both logic and experience dictate that warmongering policies of the previous presidents should not be repeated. Joe Biden, who also served as the vice-president during the Obama administration and has extensive knowledge about adopting military strategies, must base his policy towards the Afghan problem on past experiences and pursue the yet to be completed undertakings of the previous administration.
We must emphasize that the manifest conclusion of the past two-decade experience is that the Aghan issue has no military solution. The negotiation process has so far shown positive results and has proven beyond doubt that if there is a genuine will for a settlement, then all issues can be resolved through dialogue. It is in the interest of both Afghanistan and America that all foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan in accordance with the Doha agreement so that the usurped sovereignty and territorial integrity of our homeland is restored and this conflict may find an end.
Biden Admin Ditches May Obligation to Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan
Islam Times – The Pentagon says the Biden administration will not commit to a full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan by May after it accused the Taliban of not honoring the commitments they made in their deal with the United States.The US reached an agreement with the Taliban in February last year on the withdrawal of 12,000 US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban’s halting of their attacks on American forces.
According to Press TV, under the deal, the former President Donald Trump’s administration promised to bring the number of US terrorist forces in Afghanistan to zero by May 2021.
“The Taliban have not met their commitments. They are not meeting their commitments and as long as they are not meeting their commitments, it is going to be difficult for anybody at that negotiating table to meet their commitments,” Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said at a news briefing.
“… it’s very hard to see a specific way forward for the negotiated settlement. I don’t think it is helpful to be drawn now into specific hypothetical discussions about troop numbers on a specific calendar basis,” he added.
Kirby also said no decision had been made by the Biden administration about future troop levels in Afghanistan.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had hinted at a review of the withdrawal plan.
He told reporters on Wednesday that he was working to understand “exactly what is in the agreements that were reached between the United States and the Taliban to make sure that we fully understand the commitments that the Taliban has made as well as any commitments that we’ve made.”
Blinken called Afghanistan “a real challenge” during his confirmation hearing last week.
Taliban Say Honoring Doha Deal, Warn US Troops to Leave or Die
Islam Times – The Taliban have roundly dismissed the Pentagon’s claim that the Afghan militant group is not in compliance with the agreement it reached with the United States in Qatar last year, warning Washington that US troops will be killed if they refuse to leave the country as required by the deal.In a tweet on Friday, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, reacted to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby’s comments in his first news conference a day earlier about the US military presence in Afghanistan.
Kirby claimed “the Taliban have not met their commitments” under the deal they reached with the former US administration in Doha last February, which would ultimately lead to a permanent cease-fire in exchange for cutting the number of American troops in Afghanistan in phases to go to zero by May 2021.
The US troop drawdown began under ex-president Donald Trump, who reduced the number of American boots on the ground from approximately 13,500 to 2,500 before leaving office in mid-January.
Kirby, however, said the US will not proceed with the drawdown unless the Taliban comply with the Doha agreement. He added that new War Secretary Lloyd Austin was reviewing the matter and had discussed the path forward in the war-torn country with NATO allies and partners.
Mujahid, however, said the Pentagon’s claim about the Taliban’s non-compliance was not true.
The Afghan group, he added, “is committed to all articles of the agreement and is honoring its side.”
“Implementing the Doha deal is the only solution to the current challenge,” The Taliban’s spokesman said. “We want the Americans to honor the Doha agreement as well.”
In a phone conversation with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday, new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was reviewing the agreement with Taliban to see whether the Taliban was fulfilling commitments to “cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders.”
In recent weeks, deadly attacks and high-profile assassinations have seen a rise in Afghanistan. The Taliban have denied responsibility for the killings, but Afghan and US officials have pinned the blame on the group.
A part of the deal, the Taliban promised to break ties with al-Qaeda and not allow any other armed group to use the Afghan territories under their control to attack the US.
However, the memorandum from the US Treasury Department to the War Department, released on January 4, claimed, “as of 2020, al-Qaeda is gaining strength in Afghanistan while continuing to operate with the Taliban under the Taliban’s protection.”
That claim was also rejected by the Taliban, with its deputy peace negotiator, Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, saying the Afghan group has no ties to terrorist outfits, including al-Qaeda.
“We are acting based on the agreement [with the US] and do not allow foreign militants to have presence in Afghanistan,” he told Russian media on Friday during a visit to Moscow.
Stanikzai said such claims are intended to mislead the world community and serve as a pretext to justify the US military’s continued presence on Afghan soil.
He added that the 2020 agreement with the United States was also meant offer American “invading” troops a “safe passage” out of Afghanistan, and that the Taliban expects new US President Joe Biden administration’s so-called review of the document will not lead to its destruction.
“We hope that when they are reviewing it they will come to the same positive [conclusion],” Stanikzai stressed.
The Taliban negotiator once again rejected a New York Times report in June 2020 that accused Russia of paying the militant group to kill American troops in Afghanistan, delivering a stern warning to the US against attempting to keep its forces on Afghan oil in defiance of the Doha accord.
“We do not need anyone to give us reward for the killing of Americans. Americans are the invaders and we are [have been] killing them since 2001,” he said.
“If they remain in Afghanistan after this [the agreed deadline] we will also kill them even if somebody reward us or do not reward us. We take our reward from God. We fight the invaders without a reward, without any bounty,” Stanikzai warned.
The Taliban view the Kabul government as a US agent and cite the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan as the main reason behind their continued militancy.
The US along with its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the guise of fighting terrorism and dismantling al-Qaeda.
The invasion – which has turned into the longest war in US history – removed the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, but it only led to more militancy and violence as well as the emergence of Takfiri terrorism in the Central Asian country.
Over 2,400 American soldiers and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have also been killed in the war.