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Doha peace talks

It seems that the Taliban and the US have reached a deal as their latest round of talks — on the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the post-US withdrawal mechanism — has ended. Both sides have gone to their camps to discuss the deal. Though no one knows the contents of the agreement, which are likely to be announced in the ninth round of talks, a spokesperson for the Taliban announced that the discussions were “long and useful”.
An ideal deal will be Taliban assuring counter-terrorism measures. They will have to give strong guarantees that they would abide by the terms. Afghanistan has seen a spate of bombings and violations of ceasefire agreements during the ongoing talks, leaving little room for optimism. Those supporting an agreement with Taliban, however, say that in the post-US era, militants will enter into an agreement with the Kabul government and other politicians to reach a permanent ceasefire. Perhaps they are asking for too much. Before the world reaches that ideal stage, there are certain challenges which must be addressed.
The foremost challenge is to save Afghanistan from becoming the hotbed of Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other militant groups of the Central Asian States. True, Taliban control half the country, and several parts of their controlled territory run under the influence of their breakaway factions. How will the Taliban rein them in? Their attempt to control them may trigger a spiral of infighting that could shatter the dream of a peaceful Afghanistan.
Even after all these years of war, Al Qaeda is surviving, Islamic State is growing roots, and Taliban are becoming the most powerful group of Afghanistan. The new realities are not only a major threat to Afghanistan’s internal security, but also to Pakistan, China, Iran, US and other countries. The US will have to consider these challenges before signing a deal with Taliban.
If the Americans rush this through just to ensure a pull out before their 2020 presidential election, it could mean the world is returning to the past. Permanent peace in Afghanistan will remain elusive.



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US, Taliban finalize troops’ pullout time frame

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