Despite the signing of the US-Taliban agreement, the significance of the Afghan-Taliban-Pakistan love triangle will tend to define the future of the region.
Only a day after a hard-earned US-Taliban agreement that came following years of yearning, and months of unending political wrangling, Ashraf Ghani turned out to be the first spoiler.
Ashraf Ghani, who is already facing domestic challenges and legitimacy in the wake of the recent election results, startled the world he would not abide by the clause regarding prisoners’ release.
Taliban “welcomed” the move by announcing they would return the favor by pursuing their regular activity: unrelenting attacks.
But these renewed attacks in Afghanistan would be different from the past ones as they would exclusively target the Afghan forces. The Taliban said they would not target the foreign troops honoring the agreement signed last week in Qatar.
As the Taliban’s announcement of selective attacks suggests their approach of rapprochement with the US, any escalation would be blamed on the Afghan government.
The Taliban said they are prepared to delve into the intra Afghan dialogue, one of the essential points of the agreement. But they said they would be waiting till the release of their 5000 prisoners.
And today, President Ashraf Ghani linked the release of the prisoners with the Taliban’s delinking relations with Pakistan. His comments suggest the resurrection of the pre-war Afghan-Taliban-Pakistan love triangle that ended with the dropping of the first bomb on Afghanistan in 2001.
Why is Peace Derailing?
All this happened when President Ashraf Ghani said only a day after the agreement that Afghanistan is not bound to release the prisoners as agreed between the US and Taliban in Doha.
Under the historic agreement of Qatar, Taliban prisoners were to be released by March 10, the day when the intra-Afghan talk is scheduled to take place.
According to the estimates, the Afghan government has detained around 10000 Taliban.
Speaking to BBC, the spokesman for the Taliban political office in Qatar, Suhail Shaheen said the prisoners’ issue could prolong the dialogues.
However, the spokesman said that the statement by the Afghan President has no credibility as the world powers have already signed the agreement that includes the release of the prisoners.
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The Taliban spokesman further said that it is not only our responsibility to implement the agreement but the equal responsibility of the Afghan government to ensure its success.
Before this, the US Secretary Mike Pompeo had said that all sides realize the complication of the dialogue process.
But he termed the day of the signing of the agreement between the US and Taliban a “historic day”.
About the release of the 5000 prisoners to whom the US had been terming as the terrorists when Secretary Pompeo was asked, he said “Undoubtedly they have the blood of many US soldiers in their hands, but prisoners have been exchanged in the past too.”
The road to peace in Afghanistan is bumpy, jumpy, and filled with more cracks than one can find on the roads of the war-torn country.
The very day of February, for which Leap Year returns every fourth year, provided hope for peace in Afghanistan for those who disturbed it some 19 years ago.
It is ironic that Ashraf Ghani, who is like a besieged king on the chessboards, had the audacity to poke at the paper that did not qualify to be called as the peace agreement. Even so, if it was not a peace agreement, it was certainly a direction toward it.
What irks Ghani once the things are settled between the Taliban and the US powers, he has just spat it out. It is Pakistan.
Afghan President now clearly linked the release of the prisoners with the Taliban’s renouncing their attachment with Pakistan.
There has been a historical connection between Pakistan and the Taliban government when it was formed in the mid-1990s.
Recently, Pakistan said it did not want to interfere in what it calls Afghanistan’s internal matter. But Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed his concern over the reckless statement of Ashraf Ghani that led the Taliban to renew attacks. Pakistan’s minister suggested the world not to let these spoilers to take away the hard-earned peace.
However, until the dust settles over Afghanistan’s political smog, it is too early to predict how things will take shape. Still, one thing is sure that the achievement of peace takes months or sometimes year; while, it takes a petty excuse to initiate wars.
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