Nevertheless, negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban on the release of the prisoners began as planned on March 10, 2020, but renegotiation would have been difficult. Biden would have had little influence. Like Trump, he wanted to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. Withdrawing from the deal could have forced him to send back thousands more. “The deal will mean nothing — and today`s good feelings won`t last — unless we take concrete steps regarding the commitments and promises declared,” Pompeo said. “The Doha agreement was a very weak agreement, and the United States should have received more concessions from the Taliban,” said Lisa Curtis, an Afghanistan expert who served as the National Security Council`s senior director for South and Central Asia under the Trump administration. Lisa Curtis, a former senior National Security Council official who sat next to Afghan envoy Zalmay Khalilzad during negotiations with the Taliban, told AP: “The Doha agreement was a very weak agreement, and the United States should have gotten more concessions from the Taliban.” There have been nine rounds of talks in Doha – the Qatari capital where the Taliban have an office – that began in 2018. The U.S. and Taliban reached an agreement last summer, but President Trump left those talks after a U.S. soldier was killed in a September car bomb attack in the Afghan capital, Kabul. The agreement to pacify Afghanistan, signed by the Taliban and the United States in Doha on February 29, laid the groundwork for ending the war in Afghanistan.
The agreement requires the prevention of the use of Afghan soil by a group that threatens the security of the United States or its allies, and the announcement of a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops. If these two conditions are implemented, intra-Afghan talks should begin to negotiate a permanent ceasefire. Complications aside, including the U.S. if democrats win the November election, the U.S. and NATO are expected to withdraw their forces from the country in early 2021 after nearly 20 years of war. “The only responsible way to end the war in Afghanistan is through a negotiated political solution. Today reflects the hard work of our country`s military, the U.S. State Department, intelligence experts and our valued partners,” he added. “The United States stands up for the Afghan people and ensures that Afghanistan never becomes a safe haven for terrorists who threaten our homeland and our allies.” “The Taliban must abide by the agreement, especially with respect to their promises to sever ties with terrorists,” Pompeo told the State Department earlier this week. “We have our deep interest in fighting terrorism there and ensuring that the homeland is never attacked.
This is one of the central foundations of what President Trump has presented to us. But the deal leaves an unpleasant reality for the Trump administration: it signed an agreement with a movement in which an officially listed terrorist group, the Haqqani Network, known for its suicide bombing campaign, is an integral part of the leadership. The head of the network, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the deputy head and military commander of the Taliban. Retaliation against al-Qaeda and its Taliban allies was the trigger for the US invasion. But it is an emerging sense of futility that has perhaps been best demonstrated by the US acceptance of relatively small concessions by the Taliban in the deal, which has motivated successive governments` efforts to find a way out. Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who was fired by Trump in November 2020, said he thought at the time of signing the deal that it should have been “conditional,” which is part of why he later rejected Trump`s call for a Christmas return for U.S. troops. The deal also depends on more difficult negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government over the country`s future. Officials hope the talks will result in a power-sharing agreement and a permanent ceasefire, but both ideas have been anathema to the Taliban in the past. The United States and the Taliban have reached an agreement that paves the way for eventual peace in Afghanistan.
U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad and the leader of the militant Islamist group, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed Saturday in Doha, Qatar, where the two sides spent months sorting out their details. Lord. Esper stressed that if the Taliban violated the promises, “the United States would not hesitate to cancel the deal.” U.S. officials made it clear at the time that the agreement was based on terms and that the failure of intra-Afghan peace talks to reach a negotiated solution would have nullified the obligation to withdraw. Any leverage Trump could have achieved by breaking off talks last September was hard to see in the deal signed in February after a week-long nationwide reduction in violence by both sides. The previous agreement provided “in principle” for a gradual withdrawal of all US troops over a period of 16 months. In return, the Taliban would prohibit Afghanistan from being used by terrorist groups that threaten the security of the United States or its allies. The final agreement added mutually beneficial commitments, including the opening of “intra-Afghan negotiations” and ceasefire talks. But it also included agreements in favor of the Taliban: the release of a Taliban prisoner and the Five-to-One Weighted Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in favor of the Taliban, the lifting of sanctions against Taliban leaders and, as described in the agreement`s secret annexes, the cessation of offensive operations between U.S. and Taliban forces.
Trump`s impatience forced Khalilzad to negotiate without the Afghan government, a concession made by the former ambassador. Ryan Crocker called this a “capitulation” and led to a deal that, in turn, demands little from the Taliban. The Taliban left the Doha negotiations in a dominant position and continued their advantage with a new offensive against Afghan security forces who exploited the government`s mess in Kabul. Regardless of what has been and will be agreed in the coming months, the reality that follows may seem very different. Few Afghans trust the Taliban to live up to their commitments. Taliban leaders have yet to disavow al-Qaeda as promised, and a UN report released in May found that the Taliban have maintained ties to the terrorist organization. The Taliban could very well stick to the Doha agreement until the April 2021 withdrawal date, then take up arms again and attempt to take power by force without the UNITED States. . . .