As predicted by some, the ill-advised U.S.-led military pullout in Afghanistan has led to a rapidly deteriorating on-the-ground situation that is increasingly leading to a takeover of much of the country by the Taliban. It also only promises more years of bitter war for a country that is now well into its fifth decade of conflict.
Despite U.S, assertions to the contrary, the so-called Doha peace-talks have never been taken seriously by the insurgent movement. Nor do the main participating parties – the Kabul government and Talibin – represent the bulk of ordinary Afghans.
Here are two somewhat differing articles (both are must-reads, so please share as widely as possible). The first is by veteran journalists Edward Girardet and Peter Jouvenal, who have followed Afghanistan since the Soviet invasion; the second by Michael Keating of the European Institute for Peace. Both articles were recently published by Global Insights Magazine with each suggesting ways of preventing a full-scale civil war leading to a possible long-term peace solution. Their options, however, require continued commitment by the West and the United Nations. For Girardet and Jouvenal, neutral Switzerland should also be considered as a possible venue for genuine peace negotiations.
America’s – and NATO’s – Afghanistan disaster: Still a possible peace solution with a Marshall Plan. By Edward Girardet & Peter Jouvenal
As with his predecessors, U.S. President Joseph Biden has failed to understand Afghanistan. His assertion that the United States and its NATO allies have achieved what they set out to do in October 2001 is disingenuous. So is his argument that the West has never been in the business of nation-building. While the Taliban may not succeed in controlling the whole of the country, they are now well on the way to taking the bulk of it just as they did in 2001 before they were ousted by the US-led invasion. If the estimated three trillion dollars spent by the West on military support, road infrastructure, agricultural development, health, education and other forms of development are any indication, Washington’s focus has indeed been one of nation-building.
Unfortunately, Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. combat troops basically informed Afghans, including the Taliban, that the West was no longer committed, thus risking so much of what has been achieved, including women’s rights. America’s abandonment also implies that the over 3,500 Coalition troops who have died in Afghanistan will have done so for nothing, something that the families of these men and women may find hard to accept. Furthermore, Washington’s decision has placed into jeopardy efforts to develop a peaceful solution to a war that is now well into five decades. Nevertheless, while the situation may appear gloomy, there are still possibilities for peace, but only if the West re-establishes its commitment in a manner that is not ambiguous. (See article)
Now or never for Afghans: By Michael Keating.
With the U.S.-led military pull-out of Western forces from Afghanistan coupled with the rise of a resurgent Taliban, the country is in urgent of new ideas for a peaceful settlement of a war that is now in its fifth decade. Michael Keating of the Brussels-based European Institute for Peace offers some suggestions, including United Nations oversight of a ceasefire. (See article)