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Afghanistan's misery seems unending

Afghanistan’s misery seems unending
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Afghanistan’s misery seems unending

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The Afghan Taliban leaders have asked the US troops to withdraw from their country as agreed upon in the exit plan by May 1, this year. The February...

The Afghan Taliban leaders have asked the US troops to withdraw from their country as agreed upon in the exit plan by May 1, this year. The February 2020 exit plan reached between the US administration and the Taliban at Doha, Qatar, envisaged US troop withdrawal by May 1 of 2021.

The Taliban issued their warning the day after meeting with senior Afghan government negotiators and international observers from the United States, Russia, China and Pakistan to try to jump-start a stalled peace process to end Afghanistan's two-decade long war.

The summit came as the US is trying to breathe life back into a faltering peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban just weeks ahead of the May 1 deadline for US forces to exit the country. As is known to all, the US administration is unsure of its exit due to the anticipated collateral damage as it is a "tough" choice. Joe Biden is unsure of his troops exit, because the Taliban does not guarantee peace in Afghanistan if the former does so.

There was, earlier, a suggestion that it should stay on for some more time by seeking an extension of the deadline. But this idea was always fraught with the chance of the Taliban seeking extraordinary exemptions like lifting of sanctions against it. Anyway, it does not matter now. The options are foreclosed with the Taliban taking a stand against the US troops continuing in their land.

Now the Taliban says that the deadline could not be extended and "after that it will be a kind of violation of the agreement. That violation would not be from our side...their violation will have a reaction", a Taliban spokesperson told the media in Moscow the other day (Russia, China and Afghanistan meeting was held here) to discuss the road map for peace.

The problem here is that peace continues to elude Afghanistan because the Taliban and the Afghan government do not see eye to eye on anything. Taliban does not recognise the Afghan Government itself as it disputes the electoral process that installed the government in the last elections.

Taliban seeks to capture power by displacing the Afghan government in place now. Credit should go to the Taliban for keeping its word on not mounting any attacks on the US troops since the Doha agreement.

However, attacks on civilians and the Government forces continued throughout. The US fears the continued attacks while the Taliban says lasting peace is not possible if the former continues to keep its troops on Afghan soil. There are issues with the deal that the previous Trump regime had arrived at with the Taliban. The Afghan Government was not agreeable to it in the first place.

It was Donald Trump's compulsion rather than any, that forced the deal, as pulling out of Afghanistan was Trump's promise to his constituency. He sought to keep his word before the elections and hence the deal. Biden had been a critic of the deal. Afghanistan seems to be on the cusp of yet another bloody chapter.

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