Afghanistan and the US Need a Sustainable Cooperation

Kabul and Washington are entering a new chapter in their relations after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Ghani and Abdullah’s trip to Washington may have keyed this chapter. This journey is made at a critical stage. US-led international forces are leaving Afghanistan. The government and the Taliban have left the negotiating table. Although Afghanistan and the United States have different concerns at this stage, they can still have common and lasting interests. In this chapter, the two countries have a mutual need to address each other’s common concerns and achieve lasting and common interests. The main concern in Washington is the collapse of the democratic order in Afghanistan and the consequent creation of a security-political threat to the United States from extremist groups. Afghanistan, on the other hand, needs the continued US financial, logistical and training support of its military and security forces to ensure the survival of the system. The peace process, now abandoned and silent, also needs the consensus and diplomatic support of the world, led by the United States. Ghani and Abdullah’s visit to Washington may be the last chance for US support for the regime, the security forces, and the achievements of the people.

As stated, one of the main topics discussed by Ghani and Abdullah’s meeting with US President Joe Biden is the country’s commitment, support and assistance to the Afghan security and defense forces. The fact is that the Afghan government needs the help of other US allies to survive and secure the country. It is important for the United States and its allies supports the prevalence of stability and democracy in Afghanistan and that the security and political interests of these countries are not threatened by Afghanistan. Afghan security forces are at the forefront of the fight against terrorism and extremism. In addition to protecting Afghanistan’s security, these forces are also carrying on a major part of the terror campaign that could be a headache for the world.

In the new chapter of Kabul-Washington relations, in addition to supporting security forces, “peace diplomacy” is also a vital issue for Afghanistan. Since its start, the Biden government has strongly advocated diplomatic support for the Afghan peace process. This is important because the choice of government and the Taliban is to fight. The two sides have turned their backs on the negotiating table. Despite the government and Taliban’s acknowledgment of the impasse of the war, no effort has been seen at the negotiating table, and it does not appear that an opportunity for the peace process will be unveiled any time soon. At this point, the United States and its partners can tighten the pressure on the Taliban and their supporters in the region by building an international consensus and broad diplomatic support for the Afghan peace process. The use of the option of sanctions, most recently suspended by the UN Security Council for 90 days in the hope of advancing the peace process, could be part of the diplomatic pressure on the Taliban. The support of the countries of the region, each of which has security-political interests in Afghanistan, is important to the peace process. Overcoming the problem of insurgency through war may not work. Therefore, peace diplomacy is important for Afghanistan at this stage.

In addition, the United States can play an important role in encouraging political circles in Afghanistan to unite. The White House’s official statements on Ghani and Abdullah’s trip emphasize this. Earlier, Antony Blinken’s letter to government leaders also stressed the need to build consensus at the level of political leaders in the republic.

Ghani and Abdullah’s visit to Washington is crucial for Afghanistan, despite concerns about the composition of its delegation. The Afghan delegation has already met with minority and majority leaders in the US Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the National Security Council Adviser, the families of US troops killed in the Afghan war, and the Afghanistan Friends Group in the United States. Ghani and Abdullah did not meet with Biden until Friday evening. A White House spokesperson said the focus of the meeting was on discussing US commitments and support for security forces. Ghani and Abdullah are expected to be able to return to Kabul with full hands.