By Clifford Mason
THE US-Taliban political peace agreement is “unrealistic” and a culture-based strategy must be sought instead, an Afghan expert told Redaction Politics.
While political reform is needed, Avicenna University’s Professor Zaker Hussain Ershad believes the Taliban problem will not end with such a solution.
In February 2020, the US and Taliban signed a peace treaty involving the conditional withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan by May 1 this year.
Following continued violence in the country, the new US government last month announced it would be reviewing the extraction plans.
The Taliban responded to this news by issuing a statement warning NATO against remaining in the country past the May deadline.
Professor Ershad told Redaction Politics: “The US-Taliban peace agreement is an unrealistic promise.
“The bond between radical groups is not political, but their relationship is value and faith-based.
“A political treaty will not be achieved except by cultural strategy.
“Political agreements cannot be achieved until the Taliban’s belief in Afghanistan has been eradicated.”
The variation of beliefs within the Taliban presents another challenge, Professor Ershad said.
“Some ideological parties within the Taliban and terrorist groups consider any agreement with the United States illegal,” he added.
A handful of Taliban representatives may well sign a peace treaty because of their political will, while many members of the group don’t consider their religious duties to be over.
And that, Professor Ershad said, is the problem with political ends to faith-based problems.
For now he believes there will be no peace in Afghanistan without the support of foreign troops on the ground.
He said: “The continued presence of U.S. forces, while strengthening a political system of a relatively democratic nature in Afghanistan, also means immunisation from the dangers of extremism.
“With Biden and the Democrats in office, there is hope that cooperation between republicans in Afghanistan and US strategic interests has become more favourable than before.
“This kind of view benefits both Afghans and the world.”
While a US and NATO decision to stay in Afghanistan may help support the unstable Afghan government, the probability of Taliban retaliation poses a risk.
The Taliban’s recent statement to NATO said: “The continuation of occupation and war is neither in your interest nor in the interest of your and our people.
“Anyone seeking extension of wars and occupation will be held liable for it just like the previous two decades.”
This comes following a New York Times report that the Taliban is encircling Afghanistan’s major cities, now the closest it’s been to Kandahar in the past decade.
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