U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has shared details of his recent talks with the Taliban with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other government officials. A January 28 statement quoted Khalilzad as saying he had held talks about a possible cease-fire, but nothing was agreed upon. Khalilzad also confirmed that no agreement had been made on the withdrawal of foreign troops, adding that any such decision would be coordinated with the Afghan government. The statement comes after both the Taliban and Khalilzad said “progress” was made in the latest set of talks in Qatar aimed at ending the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan. The Western-backed government in Kabul has struggled to fend off a resurgent Taliban and other militant groups, nearly two decades after a U.S.-led coalition drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001. The Taliban has so far refused to hold direct negotiations with the Afghan government officials, whom they dismiss as “puppets.”
- US has unofficially said that it is willing to talk directly wityh taliban in Afghanistan
- Asper earlier US policy, that the Afghan govt-taliban should talk and US would facilitate the talks. Taliban used to refuse direct talks with Afghan govt and wanted direct talks with US.
- It may provide Taliban access to other Afghan-related talks
- It might create confusion in Afghanistan with two power centers i.e. one democratically elected govt and another Taliban
- US’s exit might undo the newly political structures created in Afghanistan
- It provides legitimacy to Taliban as a political group which is considered as a terrorist organisation even by India
- It improves Pakistan’s strategic depth in Afghanistan due to the Pak’s influence on taliban
- It undermines afghan govt’s institution which india supports
- Al-Qaeda and ISIS might penetrate into india
Need for Taliban
- Taliban has now been controlling the major portions of Afghanistan. Therefore, it is considered as being legitimate inclusion in ‘Afghan led, Afghan owned principle.
- The Afghan government under Ashraf Ghani has also invited Taliban for direct talks and in addition, the US has also shown inclination of engaging in talks with the Taliban thereby improving Taliban’s legitimacy.
- Pakistan continues to provide tacit support to Afghan Taliban to maintain a stronghold in Afghanistan and ensure Taliban’s cooperation in Pak-Afghan region.
- An initiative (Quadrilateral Coordination Group) involving the U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan was launched in January 2016, however it failed in controlling the growth of Taliban.
- India has supported the Moscow Format during the recent visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and therefore should proceed with its commitment for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan
- ‘Afghan-led and Afghan-owned’ peace process should ensure India is a stakeholder in ensuring stability of Afghanistan
- India doesn’t have the leverage to play spoiler