The Afghani government has expressed irritation with the U.S. amidst scheduled peace talks with Taliban leaders which could begin as early as this week. In a tumultuous region, it can be easy to understand why feeling left out of decisions raise alarms with officials. The U.S. is due to leave Afghanistan in the next year, withdrawing the majority of troops and handing over the reins to local forces. Government officials in Afghanistan have demanded that all talks are led by “Afghan led.” As a result, discussions about troop withdrawal and an ongoing presence of U.S. forces in the area.
The treaty talks with the Taliban are sparking reactions here at home too. Some feel that any peace talks with the Taliban forces fall under “negotiating with terrorists.” There is no doubt that many have felt this way about any oppositional force in times of conflict. And yet, peace talks and negotiating threats are not the same. If there could be a way to end this war, the now eleven year war, don’t we have an obligation to see? Even if it is only a possibility, or nothing ever amounts from it, to disregard an opportunity for a diplomatic intervention would only further fuel the status quo.
These talks need to include the necessary parties in order to ever hope to be effective. In addition, neutral facilitators should aide in mediating the low levels of trust and goodwill that each side has. One side is shutting down in response to feeling powerless. Remember the history of Afghanistan. It was once thriving and progressive. Only recently in the time frame of things have multiple hostile take overs and radical religious sects caused this country to be left rebuilding from the ground. They are at a critical period, and need to be empowered. In a short period of time the U.S. will be relying on them to maintain order, structure, and a working relationship. The Afghani government is part of the foundation for peace. It must remain strong, or stability will fall.
By: Courtney Kidd