With the US–Taliban peace talks shaping the future course of Afghan conflict, the main stakeholders China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India driven by their geopolitical pursuits and vested interests jostle for influence over the final endgame of Afghanistan. 

Image source: Daily Outlook Afghanistan

By Mona Thakkar,

US President Donald Trump ended the year-long painstaking negotiations with the Taliban which began in last October in Doha, the capital of Qatar. In a series of tweets, he revealed that he is cancelling “a secret meeting” and calling of the peace talks after he learnt that the Taliban claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack that killed a US solider and 11 others. Trump’s backpedalling comes less than a week after Zalmay Khalizad, Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, said that the peace agreement was ready in ‘principle’ which would end US involvement in the 18 years of Afghan war. Khalizad said that as per the accord, 5400 troops would be withdrawn in 135 days; but he was still uncertain of what he would get in return. He said that the “troop withdrawal” will be condition-based; i.e., if the Taliban adheres to nation-wide ceasefire. The Taliban on the other hand vowed to reduce violence only around American bases. These disagreements were reflected when they were taking on each other on the battlefield. While the Taliban launched attacks in the Green zone in Kabul, the US forces were retaliating against the Taliban offensive launched in Kunduz, Farah and Nangarhar provinces.

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Mona Thakkar is a Research Intern at CPPR-Centre for Strategic Studies. Views expressed by the author are personal and need not reflect or represent the views of Centre for Public Policy Research.

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