A historic agreement was reached in Qatar between the US and Taliban officials during February, but they avoided calling it a ‘peace settlement’.
After a few weeks, it was clear why he did this.
Actually, the rebels stopped attacking international troops, but the conflict with Afghan security forces continued.
The agreement stipulated a temporary time for the withdrawal of foreign security forces, as long as the Taliban did not allow international jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda to use their land to attack the US and its allies.
It also expressed the commitment that for the first time the Taliban will start direct talks with the Afghan government and other Afghan leaders and try to reach a political settlement.
That conversation is going to start in Qatar this week, whose aim is to end the two decades of struggle in which thousands of people lost their lives.
Previously, these talks were to begin in March, but due to a dispute over a scheme of interchange of prisoners, these conversations were held for months.
The US-Taliban agreement has decided that the Afghan government will release “up to 5,000” Taliban prisoners before negotiations, in return for which the extremists will release one thousand members of the security forces from their captivity.
The Taliban wants the full five thousand prisoners to be released and those who give the list, those who are released should be the same people.
But the government, which was not part of the US-Taliban talks, opposed it.
Some concessions from Taliban
Afghan officials hoped that they would get some concessions from the Taliban in exchange for prisoners. Despite this, the Taliban raised the level of violence.
Those portions of the US-Taliban agreement were never made public, in which there was talk of setting some boundaries for the fight.
The US will be allowed to carry out airstrikes at a particular distance from the active war zone, it cannot carry out airstrikes on Taliban fighters resting in villages.
It happened that the Taliban got an exemption and started to attack more Afghan forces at remote posts.
Many times the group launched major attacks on some cities, perhaps to see how the US reacted.
Responsible for serious crimes
This also increased the pressure on the Afghan government. The assassination efforts of government-backed people also saw an increase.
Eventually, President Ashraf Ghani released all 400 prisoners who were particularly responsible for serious crimes.
The decision to release them took longer to materialize because the Afghan government was also demanding the release of several soldiers from the Taliban, with France and Australia objecting to the release of prisoners who Civilians were killed.
However, the United States was upset and the rest of the prisoners were released last week.
At the same time, the plan is that Qatar will be sent to seven prisoners associated with the attack on foreign security forces. Where they will be kept under observation.
What is at stake in peace talks?
The separate phase of the process in which negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government will take place is actually around the “peace deal”.
Officials and ordinary Afghan people are hoping that a ceasefire can be agreed.
However, so far, the Taliban have indicated to continue fighting until their demands are met.
They believe that they can maintain their influence with violence and they are also worried that once their fighters keep their weapons, it would be difficult to redeploy them if needed or it could be that the Islamic State Let his rivals of the group move towards the extremists.
In the negotiation, some kind of agreement is also expected on the political future of the country.
This work seems difficult. But how will the two different thinking of the country meet?
On one side is the “Islamic Emirate” which the Taliban follows, on the other hand the more modern and more democratic Afghanistan which has been built in the last two decades.
Protestant and cruel interpretation of Sharia law
When the Taliban had control of most of the country i.e. from the mid-1990s until the 2001 invasion of the US leadership, they ruled with a staunch and cruel interpretation of Sharia law.
Along with other restrictions, women were prohibited from working and going to school. The Taliban says that it does not oppose the reading of women.
Many Afghanis are skeptical about how much they have changed now.
Farhanaz Phortan, the founder and lead journalist of the “My Red Line” online campaign, says that many women believe that their personal freedom should not be compromised.
He told the BBC, “The Taliban will have to understand the truth of today’s Afghanistan. If they do not understand, then this peace dialogue will not really produce any result.”
A diplomat closely monitoring the peace process said that the Taliban deliberately remain unclear about their political vision.
In an interview last year, I asked Abbas Stanikzai, the group’s chief negotiator at the time, whether he would accept the democratic process.
He replied, “I cannot say. There have been many types of governments in Afghanistan. Some want the emirate system, some want a presidential form of government.”
However he also said that involved in the conversation The Taliban will give their consent to the system that most people will be in favor of.
USA forces return home
Meanwhile, the number of American security forces is already decreasing.
According to the US-Taliban agreement, if the Taliban accepts al-Qaeda and starts negotiations with the government, then all US security forces will leave by May 2021.
In other words, his withdrawal does not depend on the agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Before the upcoming election, US President Donald Trump has repeatedly indicated that he wants to bring the US troops back home as soon as possible.
They have already promised to increase the number to five thousand by November, which is the lowest number since 2001.
Cooperation against extremism
However, the warning from the United Nations and US officials regarding the relations between the Taliban and al-Qaeda has not been able to affect this goal.
A reviewer tracking the matter told the BBC that the main goal of the Trump government is to seek assurance from the Taliban for cooperation against extremism. Whereas no priority was given to women’s rights or human rights.
However, many European countries have expressed concern about the withdrawal of security forces.
Some analysts believe that if Biden, the Democratic Party candidate who is elected president in November, may consider slowing down the process of bringing back the security forces.
It is also being said that the President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, is deliberately hanging on to the release of prisoners because he is eyeing the US elections in which there can be a change of power.
Who will be in power in Afghanistan?
Now that the American soldiers are on the way back, many Taliban supporters are confident that they will now be able to decide what kind of society will be formed in Afghanistan.
These talks will give the first indication of what is the vision of the Taliban. So far, his leadership has also talked about having an Islamic government and an inclusive government.
In the midst of negotiations, the Taliban may also suggest the formation of an “interim” government, of which they will also be part. Although how it will work and where it will take the current political leadership, at the moment it is not clear.
Despite their stern stance of the past, Taliban officials have insisted that they value international legitimacy.
The European Union
His rule was recognized by a handful of countries in the 1990s, and he was not able to take the entire country under his control.
The Taliban do not have control of any urban center, despite still occupying a large area.
The European Union has particularly emphasized that if any future regime does not comply with international standards on human rights, then investment and help will be stopped.
Given the pace of progress so far, negotiations are likely to proceed, and the outcome is uncertain.
Although the matter has progressed a bit over the years of deadlock on the battlefield, it has at least raised the prospect of peace for the Afghans.