In the midst of Afghanistan, also known as the “Graveyard of Empires,” the fierce battle between the different stakeholders seems destined not to end anytime soon.
Although Donald Trump concluded an agreement with the Taliban and the Afghan government to withdraw all the remaining 2500 US troops in Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, President Joe Biden is looking to delay the US troops’ withdrawal in Afghanistan.
The newly leaked draft, issued by the US envoy in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has opened a new pandora’s box for the stakeholders.
Not only this, but the leaked letter by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested that the USA does “not intend to dictate terms” to the Taliban and the Afghan government. He further said that the US would encourage both sides to “move urgently” toward a peace agreement.
A Premature US Withdrawal: An Instrument to Fuel Insurgency in Afghanistan
The Trump administration tried to wrap up the United States’ longest war by signing an agreement for all troops’ withdrawal by May 2021.
Donald Trump is gone now, but the Biden administration is buried under the burden of the erstwhile agreement. However, the risks associated with premature withdrawal remain higher than ever.
First of all, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan can once again impact the peace of the world. The basic agreement between the US and the Afghan Taliban is that the Taliban will not attack the United States again.
Not only this, but the Taliban have also ensured that the Afghan land will not be used to perpetrate any attack against the US.
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The problem with the Afghan land is that now it is not only the home of the Afghan Taliban. Now there are other extremist organizations in the land; on top of them remains ISIS and ISIS-K.
Recently, the insurgency once again increased in Afghanistan, but the Taliban did not take responsibility for it. They opine that ISIS sponsors the recent wave of anti-government insurgency.
Owing to the complexity of the problem, an immediate and premature US withdrawal will fuel the insurgency to a whole new level.
The Taliban will be able to blame ISIS and the other anti-Taliban factions for further terrorist activities.
Amid all of this situation, a trust deficit will be created to a dangerous extent, which will be impossible to bridge.
Here the question arises how the United States will tackle any further insurgency from the country of Afghanistan after the troops are withdrawn?
It is pertinent to note here that the troops of other countries are also present in Afghanistan right now. In total, there are almost 8000 NATO troops in the troubled region, and the United States withdrawal will push other countries to pull their troops back also.
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In case of future insurgency, will the United States invade Afghanistan once again, or will they use other tactics to curtail the insurgency? Will the US embrace the doctrine of “drone diplomacy” in the region?
These remain unanswered questions of the unsolved Afghan tragedy.
Biden’s Plan: A “Moonshot” or just a “Quick Fix?”
As Antony Blinken eyed the urgency of peace in Afghanistan, the voices have already been heard that the US plan is just a “quick fix” to run away from the imminent problem.
The Vice-President of Afghanistan said,
“(We will) never accept a bossy and imposed peace. They can make decisions on their troops, not the people of Afghanistan.”
(Amrullah Saleh, VP of Afghanistan)
In the times when Afghan Taliban are stronger than ever and enjoy the support of various international stakeholders, a withdrawal does look like a “Quick Fix.”
The Biden administration needed to understand that the Trump-led agreement promoted his “America-first” policy to reduce US spending on foreign troops.
While it is a reality that the United States has to spend a lot of dollars on the regulation of these Afghan-stationed troops, however, an unplanned withdrawal aimed at a “quick fix” will be one of the worst decisions of the incumbent administration.
The current agreement is ignoring some of the harshest ground realities. For instance, the Afghan-Taliban used to settle in Pakistan earlier, but now the situation is very different.
Now the Afghan-Pakistan border is well-fenced, and it will be next to impossible for the Taliban to cross the borders.
This accumulation of Taliban forces in Afghanistan can create division in their ranks, creating different factions within them.
The shattering of the Taliban’s ranks will result in a dangerous precedent that will create further insurgency in Afghanistan.
Not only this, but the land of Afghanistan can also be used against the United States and the other countries once again.
So, the Biden administration must not rush for a “quick fix” as it can be detrimental to the peace of the region and beyond.