The US is Leaving Afghanistan with Anxious Minds

The Americans have predicted three bad scenarios after the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. These three bad scenarios include the collapse of the government, the outbreak of civil war and the reactivation of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. According to Americans, the above scenarios will occur one after the other. The minimum time allowed for the re-nucleation of al-Qaeda and the resumption of the network in Afghanistan is two years.

The United States has lost interest in staying in Afghanistan since May 2011. US forces killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on the second of May. After the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the United States and NATO began the process of transferring security responsibilities from international forces to Afghan forces. This process was completed by 2014.

The United States has stepped up its efforts to hold talks with the Taliban following the assassination of Osama bin Laden. These efforts were key a year earlier. An agreement was reached to open a political office for the Taliban in Qatar in 2011. Afghanistan agreed to open the office conditionally a year later.

American efforts to pave the way for dialogue between the Afghan government and the Taliban in 2015 have paid off. The first direct talks between representatives of the two sides took place in Pakistan this year. The Taliban withdrew from the talks following the revelation of the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar. The Afghan government has since failed to revive the talks.

In October 2018, the first meeting between the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and the Taliban was held in Qatar. Following these meetings, the United States and the Taliban finally signed the “Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” Agreement on February 29, 2020. The Taliban called the signing of the agreement a “victory of Jihad over occupation.”

Under the Agreement, the process of withdrawing international troops from Afghanistan began. At the same time, it was predicted that with the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan, the only leverage for US pressure on the Taliban to force the group to make peace with the Afghan government would be lost. At the same time, it was hoped that the Taliban would be persuaded to make peace with the government with the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan.

Under the Doha Agreement, a peace meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban began on September 12, 2020 in Qatar. The meeting has not since exceeded the level of contact between the representatives of the two sides. Nearly a year has passed since the first meeting of government representatives and the Taliban in Doha but so far, the two sides have not been able to negotiate on the issues at stake. This shows that the withdrawal of international forces, as expected, has not contributed to the Afghan peace process, at least not so far.

The Taliban is currently advancing. Foreign troops are also leaving Afghanistan. It is thought that the departure schedule will probably be completed ahead of schedule by July 4th.

The United States, which changed its strategy in Afghanistan in 2011 after the assassination of Osama bin Laden, is currently leaving Afghanistan in turmoil. Hoping to crush the al-Qaeda network and kill its founder, the country renounced its repression of the Taliban and left the fight against the group to the Afghan government alone in the name of fighting insurgency. As the United States withdraws its last group of troops from Afghanistan, it remains concerned about being wounded again on Afghan soil and the proliferation of terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda. It is also unlikely that this scenario, according to the US Department of Defense, will materialize in another two years and threaten the national interests and national security again.

The United States, which is now worried about this scenario, should not allow the two previous scenarios to materialize. The way to prevent these two scenarios is to maintain and strengthen the Afghan army. The survival of these forces depends on external support and assistance. This support and assistance must be maintained at an optimal level so that the Afghan army can stand up and survive the insurgency. Money and weaponry are a serious need of these forces. In the air sector, these forces also depend on the technical assistance of foreign forces. This assistance should not be stopped. Otherwise, the army will fail and the first scenario, which is the collapse of the government, will happen.

At the same time, the impasse of negotiations must be broken. The only leverage available to threaten the Taliban is to impose more sanctions on the group’s leaders, commanders and affiliates. This option should not be out of reach if the group has no desire to negotiate.

Also, the danger of the Taliban returning to power by force must be made public. Only by responsibly spreading the dangers of Taliban military action can the region and the world be mobilized against this group. This should be on the agenda of all countries that are worried about scenarios such as the fall of the government, the civil war and the resumption of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. The United States, which is concerned about the nucleus of terrorism in Afghanistan and the resurgence of al-Qaeda after the collapse of the government and the civil war in Afghanistan, should be more actively involved in this campaign than any other country.

The policy of persuading the Taliban to make peace has backfired. The policy of pressure and threats against this group must be revived. The release of Taliban prisoners and the withdrawal of international troops as part of the incentive policy has so far not yielded positive results. The abolition of the blacklist and the release of the remaining prisoners will not encourage the group to negotiate with the government. Therefore, in the face of a group that intends to rely solely on force, it is most appropriate to pursue a policy of intimidation, pressure and repression. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to prevent the above bad scenarios.