The War in Afghanistan Can Be Contained Only Through International Pressure

The Taliban have stepped up their efforts to overthrow provincial capitals following the occupation of dozens of districts in different provinces of the country. The group has also occupied four commercial ports so far. Parts of the country’s major highways have also been captured by the Taliban.

The Taliban’s advances in the last two months have displaced thousands of families across the country. Due to the occupation of border ports, the normal flow of trade between Afghanistan and its northern and western neighbors has been disrupted. Iran, for example, has completely suspended trade with Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters have been trying to enter some cities in the north, northeast, south and west of the country in recent weeks. The Taliban claim to have captured parts of the city of Faizabad, the capital of Badakhshan. The group also sought to seize the town of Qala-e-Naw, the capital of Badghis, which has met resistance from government forces. Taliban fighters have also made moves to enter the city of Kandahar. In Ghazni, however, the war had entered parts of the city yesterday.

The Taliban’s occupation of a number of commercial ports and highways and the siege of some towns are a sign of the group’s determination to overthrow the central government and occupy Afghanistan through war. These advances also show that the Taliban have done their utmost to achieve a military victory. However, there is still one part of this group behind the negotiating table.

The Afghan government has so far failed to repel the violent waves of Taliban attacks in more than two months. The situation inside Afghanistan seems that the rapid progress of the Taliban has not been very predictable for high-ranking government officials. As a result, procrastination is rife at all levels of government, and there is no planning, crisis management or efforts to change the situation.

In the current context of urban warfare, with most markets half-closed and the commercial sector disrupted, and the number of displaced people increasing every day, there is a need to intensify international pressure for political understanding on the war side. Unfortunately, the international community and international institutions have only been watching the situation in Afghanistan for a long time and have not done anything to stop the violence in this country. It should be emphasized that international pressure is the only tool available to satisfy the government and the Taliban for an end to the violence and the start of meaningful peace talks. Otherwise, the situation in Afghanistan may become out of control and the country may again become the center of activity of international terrorist groups.

Although the government and the Taliban are convinced that there is no military solution to the Afghan issue, they have not been able to reach a viable solution through dialogue. The proposals proposed by others, including the United States, have not been accepted by either side. It is not known what side the government is on either. The Presidential Palace alone stands against the US plan and the plan of the Abdullah’s faction, including activists and political parties. The Taliban have not yet presented a clear plan for the future and a peaceful solution to the Afghan issue. This problem has led the government and the Taliban to resort to the military option, contrary to their commitments to peace.

Countries interested in impartial mediation between the government and the Taliban need to become more active. Although the Taliban have entered the cities and endangered the security of Afghanistan’s shared borders with its neighbors, the opportunity for political compromise has not been lost. The United Nations can also act as a facilitator and mediator between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The Extended Troika mechanism, is a convenient option but needs further development. Turkey, Iran and India are among the countries that are willing to join this mechanism. However, Iran has said it will not participate in any US initiative. Further development of the “US, Russia, China + Pakistan” mechanism could intensify regional and global efforts to pressure the government and the Taliban to reach a peace agreement. If such capacities are not used to contain the situation in Afghanistan, the war in this country will enter its most catastrophic and destructive phase. It is certain that in this case, not only Afghanistan’s neighbors but the whole region will be in turmoil and great economic opportunities will be lost in this region.