Updated: May 26
Junior Research Analyst,
Afghanistan has suffered a great deal from the war on security issues, terrorism, political crisis and economic stability since the United States of America occupation back in 2001. On the 29th of February 2020 the United States of America entered into a conditional peace agreement with the Taliban, the contract stipulated the United States would withdraw its foreign troops if the Taliban uphold the terms in the peace agreement. President Trump said it had been a "long and hard journey" in Afghanistan. "It's time after all these years to bring our people back home," he said. Under the peace agreement, the Militants are not to allow Al-Qaeda or other extremist groups to operate in areas under their control. According to Trump “the Taliban have been trying to reach an agreement with the United States for some time, according to him The United States has been killing terrorist group in Afghanistan and it was time for someone else to do the work, it could be the Taliban or it could be the neighbouring countries, I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show we are not all wasting our time” Trump further stated, if bad things happen we will go back with a force that no one has ever seen. The United States of America invaded Afghanistan weeks after the terrorist attack the U.S suffered in the September 2001 attack by the Afghanistan-based terrorist group al-Qaeda, since then the U.S has occupied Afghanistan, since the occupation of U.S troops, more than 2,400 of the U.S troops have been killed during the conflict. About 12,000 are still stationed in the country. President Trump has promised to put an end to the conflict.
In a region that is widely contentious. Political stability in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and Iran can have an effect and impact on Afghanistan. Regional competition between India and Iran has an effect on Afghanistan. Most of the challenges in Afghanistan that are seen to be domestic are regional.
The Afghanistan and Taliban peace talks would bring about the much-needed economic growth among neighbouring countries
Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries are closely bound. The constructive partnership between Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries is essential to the stability of the region. Just as the ability of Afghanistan to overcome its political and economic crises would be beneficial and have a deep bearing on the development and security of the region, the foreign policies and domestic stability of neighbouring countries would, in turn, ensure the progress of Afghanistan. Peace in Afghanistan could contribute to the well-being of neighbouring countries if Afghanistan reclaims its past as a bridge between neighbouring countries. The long-term stability and security of Afghanistan will help the global trade of neighbouring countries and also bring about the increased potential for prosperity in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries. The conflict in Pakistan is deeply rooted in the events in Afghanistan. The relationship between both countries has been characterized by distrust and hostilities.
The need to have an equitable and broad-based economy is a major challenge for Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries, cross border trade would build trust among neighbouring countries. The peace talks would ensure that neighbouring countries that are being influenced by the activities in Afghanistan would also witness peace. When there is peace there would be increased economic activities within neighbouring countries and also between them.
The Afghanistan and Taliban peace talks have the capability of reducing the radicalization of youths and bringing about peace in Pakistan. Pakistan has witnessed a massive increase and severity of violence involving Islamic fundamentalist groups or militant sectarian groups since 2001. This incident carried out by groups or military operations targeting them has accounted for more deaths than any type of violence in Pakistan since 2005. Although the incidents take place in areas bordering Afghanistan, all parts of the country at one point or the other has witnessed the effect of the violence. The ability of these groups to recruit the youth is a huge threat in establishing peace in the region. Some sections of the Pakistan military establishment have seen the instability in Afghanistan as an opportunity to exert their military influence in the country. Given the destabilizing effect of this peace talks between Afghanistan and Taliban in the short term, there is a possibility that this military establishment will seek to maintain or expand its strategy in reinvigorating its ties with armed groups or Taliban. If this does happen it would result in security crises in Pakistan and Afghanistan and would also empower extremist groups in Pakistan.
Civil society participants have agreed that the peace talks have the potential to have a stabilizing effect in neighbouring countries, it can be a great catalyst to propel the region to unlimited peace and stability. Many neighbouring countries are now accepting the fact that for their country to be prosperous and stable Afghanistan needs to be stable, if the peace talks can address some of the factors responsible for the instability in Afghanistan, for example, establishing the foundation for a strong and self-sustaining economy, the neighbouring countries will also benefit. Any improvement in Afghanistan has the potential to have a knock-on impact for all its neighbouring states.
The peace talks would bring about confidence-building measures among neighbouring countries, the confidence-building among neighbouring countries will be the foundation for an improved relation among neighbouring states, there would be more frequent exchanges between Afghanistan and Pakistan and even India would help in building confidence and also address some certain deep strained stereotypes and also the increase in cultural and sporting exchange can help in building mutual understanding within the neighbouring state while building an intergovernmental relationship.
There would also be improved access to basic services in the region. The need for the improvement of basic service can’t be overemphasized. One of the most needed basic services is access to justice for local people in neighbouring states. Most of these problems arose as a result of trouble in the region. The Peace talks would reduce the attraction of extremist narrative and also ensure that citizens in neighbouring states feel safe and secure thereby limiting tensions between neighbouring states. One of the vital areas of engaging and reforming the region is the alternative dispute resolution mechanism, it is the key for improved access to justice at the local level in the region. This would ensure that absolute peace is maintained in the region.
The peace talks would improve access to quality education and media reform in member states, a lack of access to high-quality education in the region has been a significant reason for most of the conflict witnessed in the region. The lack of regulation in the region means that there is little or no control over the quality of education in the region.
Children are not thought to develop the necessary thinking skills, whilst some children in the conflict region do not even have access to education, stereotypes have been deeply entrenched in the region, this has further been worsened by a poorly regulated media that stimulate the division.
The peace talks would ensure improved civilian oversight of not just the foreign policy in the region, but also defence policy. The tendency for countries in the region to employ military response to different security threats both perceived and real threat lies at the fragile nature of countries in the region. Foreign and defence policy has always been in the hands of the military, irrespective of whether the government in power is a civilian or military government, as a result of this, military strategy has been used in addressing more inclusive public policy. When a civilian government tried to adopt a different approach, the government failed because of the grip the military has been able to exert in the political system. The fractured political system in the region ensures that the military has a strong grip over policymaking since the government in power must have the support of the military.
The military dominance in foreign and domestic policymaking has limited the ability of the civilian government to address the diversities of insecurity in the region. Hopefully, the peace talks would bring about the much-needed democratic accountability in the region
International Crisis Group, ‘Resetting Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan’, Asia Report No. 262, 28 October 2014, Available from <https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/5452107bf4.pdf>  Safeworld C4P Briefing, Strained neighbours: The impact of Afghanistan's transition processes of conflict in Pakistan, 2nd February 2016, Available from <https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/195881/c4p-pakistan---the-impact-of-afghanistans-transition-processes-on-conflict-in-pakistan.pdf >  Saira Yamin and Salma Malik, United States Institute of Peace, ‘Mapping Conflict Trends in Pakistan’, Peaceworks No. 93. , Available from < https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/PW93-Mapping_Conflict_Trends_in_Pakistan.pdf >  The Ministry of External Affairs India, Strategic Depth in Afghanistan, V R Raghvan, The doctrine of ‘strategic depth’ dictates that Pakistani forces need to be able to rely on a friendly regime in Afghanistan willing to provide sanctuary and support to Pakistani forces should they be forced to move westward by an Indian invasion. Available from < https://www.mea.gov.in/articles-in-indian-media.htm?dtl/18510/Strategic+depth+in+Afghanistan >  Human Rights Watch, ‘Crisis of Impunity: The Role of Pakistan, Russia, and Iran in Fueling the Civil War in Afghanistan’, Vol.13 No.3 (C), July 2001, Available from <https://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/afghan2/Afghan0701.pdf >
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