Foreign Policy Watch: India-Afghanistan

[op-ed snap] The Taliban problem: On the Afghan crisis

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Afghanistan - latest situation and way ahead

Context

The U.S.-Taliban talks collapsed last week. Taliban threatened to step up attacks in Afghanistan. 

The security situation in Afghanistan

  • It used two suicide bombers who killed at least 48 people by targeting a rally being addressed by Ashraf Ghani. 
  • These attacks are yet another warning of the security challenges Afghanistan faces. Particularly before the presidential polls.
  • Both the 2014 presidential election and last year’s parliamentary poll were violently disturbed by the Taliban. 
  • This time, they asked civilians to stay away from political gatherings, making all those who participate in the political process of potential targets. 

Taliban

  • Rising attacks against Afghan civilians make the Taliban’s claim of fighting on behalf of them hollow. 
  • The Taliban did not suspend its terror campaign even while holding talks with the U.S. in Qatar. 
  • Now that the talks have collapsed, a vengeful Taliban is unleashing itself.
  • Threat from the Taliban is so grave that the President is largely addressing campaign rallies through Skype. 

Afghanistan situation

  • The Afghan government is determined to go ahead with the election. 
  • Even if the elections are over without further attacks, the Taliban problem will remain. 
  • The fundamental problem with the U.S.-Taliban peace process was that it excluded the Kabul government at the insistence of the insurgents.
  • The Taliban was not even ready to cease hostilities. A peace agreement dictated by the Taliban won’t sustain.
  • A permanently unstable Afghanistan and Taliban growing in strength is not good news for Afghanistan’s neighbours.

Solution

  • Regional and international players should help the new government. 
  • The Taliban can’t be allowed to have a free terror run. 
  • Afghanistan needs a comprehensive peace push in which all stakeholders, including the government, the U.S., the Taliban, and regional players will have a say. 
  • The U.S. should continue to back the Kabul government.
  • It should put pressure on Pakistan to crack down on the Afghan Taliban, double down its counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan.
  • The US should also invite regional players such as Pakistan, Iran, Russia, India, and China to take part in the diplomatic efforts. 
  • The Taliban should be forced to return to talks. 

Conclusion

The U.S.-Taliban peace talks may have collapsed. But it need not be the end of the road for finding a settlement for the Afghan crisis.

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