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The Undone Deal

US President Donald Trump is, on the world stage, seen as an unpredictable leader and known for his intransigence that reflects in his dogmatic decisions. Usually, it takes only a single tweet for him to create lasting chaos in the global arena, be it a twitter war with North Korean leader Kim Jon Un or withdrawal from several crucial pacts like Paris Climate Agreement, JCPOA, to name a few. Trump’s out-of-the-blue and, sometimes, whimsical decisions, often, catch the global community off guard and leave them scratching their head.

The US President’s move to departure from Afghanistan peace deal came as the latest in the series when Trump took everyone by surprise. President Trump took US out from a yet-to-be-formed peace deal with Afghan-Taliban, leaving Afghanistan and, indeed, the whole region hanging in the balance. Now, the Taliban is out on a bombing spree, killing hundreds of people in Afghanistan.

The nearer Afghanistan’s Presidential elections are approaching, the higher Taliban’s scale of violence is clocking, which appears to terrify Afghan cities with suicide bombings like anything, and creating the fear & trembling without which not even a single day passes by.

The bombardments targeted at Schools, Hospitals, Government establishments, Police and Military Camps and even American Embassy, points to Taliban’s preparation scale that sends out a message loud and clear that it is all set to create mayhem in the already war-ravaged Afghanistan. But, for the US when its own embassy is targeted, more than anything else it’s a matter of prestige. The US military too is giving an equal and aggressive response. A few days ago, a US military drone attack claimed 20 innocent Afghan lives.

When bulls fight, crops suffer. Here, the sufferers are the innocent people of Afghanistan, being sandwiched between the US and Taliban’s decade-old undying war of domination. After the recent so-called peace deal with US ended up in vain, Taliban is now out, exploding its frustration on common Afghan people and leaving Aghan streets and homes teeming with crises, born out of human injuries, loss and deaths.

In this backdrop, the question facing Afghanistan and, perhaps, the whole region is how Afghanistan’s establishment is to conduct the fair elections which will be far from the unscrupulous meddling of Taliban. Expressing his sorrowful concerns, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has stated that ”every Afghan citizen has the right to live in an atmosphere free of fear and violence.” But, in true sense, even this international organisation does not have a panacea to this malaise.

The experts are of the view that if the US had not burned their bridges with Taliban and backed off from the soon-to-be-established deal, then Afghanistan could have breathed a little easier and it did not have to suffer what it is reeling through today. But, the killing of one US soldier upended the years-long negotiations, putting the final nail in the coffin to end the US-Taliban peace talks in vain, and US exited from the said peace negotiations allowing Afghanistan to become a hotbed of terror bombings.  

However, last year, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani took a significant step by recognising Taliban as a political party and freeing up its militants held in incarceration. Meanwhile, the peace talks in Qatar went on, in which a gamut of issues was discussed that resulted in nothing. Against this backdrop, when the peace talks held in Moscow down the line, the former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai was invited but Afghan Government was not included following Taliban’s stance that it will forge an agreement with America only if the elections in Afghanistan are suspended.

And, this is how the spirit of peace negotiations vanished somewhere in a tugging war of self-obsessed politics and intransigence. It is worth saying that the Taliban’s pig-headed attitude is among the major reasons which has turned Afghanistan into the battle-ground of today.

More than anything, the timely need for all the concerned stakeholders is to lend an ear to the common Afghanis and hear their painful cries and their grieving hearts which are begging for peace. In order to calm their sobbing hearts, the two main negotiators US and Taliban must come together, as it takes two to tango, and leave their political differences and vested interests apart.

Afghanistan Government too needs to put a brake to its celebrations triggered by the collapse of the peace deal with the Taliban. All concerned parties must sit together and introspect what actually have they achieved in 18 years of constant war, and for that matter how many more lives would it take for them to restore peace in the region, if at all.

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