Afghanistan’s people fear America’s rushed peace process this week considering troop withdrawal estimated to take place within the next five years. Peace talks are currently underway in Qatar with US and Taliban representatives announcing a great leap forward towards ending the war although military withdrawal threatens to jeopardize the Afghani people as government officials remain barred from their own peace talks.
America’s rushed exit and the Taliban’s powerful position in the peace process reflects allied desperation in the war. American senator Bernie Sanders tweeted “American troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly 18 years, Iraq since 2003 and in Syria since 2015,” “The American people do not want endless war,” Sanders later tweeted “Congress must reassert its Constitutional authority over the use of force and responsibly end these interventions”. Such an exit risks undermining 17 years of human development in the region; women’s rights, democratic institutions and constitutional rights have only recently come into fruition. Ghazaal Habibyar, Afghanistan’s ex-deputy minister stated: “I, like other Afghans, want peace, but when I heard of the deal, I recalled the days when I wasn’t allowed to go to school under the Taliban”. Habibyar later said, “I certainly don’t want the same for my children or the millions of other Afghan children.” The Taliban’s unwillingness to cooperate with Afghani officials has left its people absent in the peace process. Nonetheless, reports from Qatar’s Presidential Palace state final agreements will be finalized through Afghani authorities.
Negotiations so far have established troop withdrawals and assured some stability in the region. Yet, Afghani people feel like a second priority in the talks, with fears that scaling back aid will heighten attacks and increase the likeability of its military fracturing. Transitioning the country towards post-war development is crucial within America’s exit-strategy. Investments in infrastructure, agriculture, and its private industries are needed in order for the state to become fully dependent. Arriving at sustainable peace will be a challenge considering rumors that financial assistance will cease once troops exit the region. Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie said that Afghan forces require allied support, “I do know that today it would be very difficult for them to survive without our and our coalition partners’ assistance”.
Peace is demanded by all levels of Afghani society, it must be noted that troop withdrawal doesn’t ensure stability within the region considering America’s history exiting warzones, Afghanistan’s western backed-government fears the Taliban’s return. South Vietnam fell two years after the US ceased support in 1973. America’s withdrawal from Iraq created the perfect storm for ISIS. James Stavridis, ex-United States admiral spoke out “As long as we continue to provide funding to the Afghan security forces in the field, I think the security forces would be very capable of keeping order in the country, particularly in a scenario where the Taliban has come in from the cold.” To provide a safe power transition into Afghani hands, its people require support and the right to participate in its peace process. Afghanistan’s recent history has been dominated by war, these talks will determine the future of its people; thus it is only right they have a say within this process.