Afghan Peace Deal, Regional Stability and the United States


A Bad Deal for Afghanistan - Lawfare

By Irfan Mahar    27 July 2020

Afghan Peace deal that concluded between the U.S. and Taliban was really a good sign which could generate peace within a war trodden region which has been remained under conflict for very long. As far as the U.S. involvement and policies with regard to Afghan issues are concerned, either the U.S. is confused or trying to make other nations confuse. However, it is clear from the domestic circumstances within America and the response of the people that they have become tired of this long-lasting war in Afghanistan. In this regard, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “the United States will not fight in perpetuity in the graveyard of Empires”. Could the land of Afghanistan through this peace deal get rid of such a long war? Could this truce really be successfully converted from peace in papers to peace at the ground? Or it is going to be the tail within books or documents. These circumstances compel nations to look over the track record of the United States and its agreements with various countries like Iraq, Iran, etc. where the U.S has broken agreements and deals without caring for any nation even including the parties to agreements and deals. Along with such kind of behavior, it looks too difficult to make peace in the region since former American president John F. Kennedy rightly said:

“Peace does not rest in the charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on parchment and on paper, let us strive to build peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our people. I believe that we can. I believe the problems of human destiny are not beyond the reach of human beings.”

As far as the role of Pakistan in the US-Taliban peace deal is concerned, it looks positive and having much importance via glancing over its historic role since the Soviet Invasion and 9/11 incident. Pakistan, being a neighbour as well as having historical and cultural affiliation with Afghanistan, keeps much influence in Kabul’s domestic demeanours. In addition, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 became the primary source of the strengthening of people to people contact and inter-governmental level relations between Islamabad and Kabul. The triangular bond of Washington-Islamabad-Kabul retreated the Soviet Union from further moving ahead. The combined success of Washington-Kabul-Islamabad brought them closer as trusted and tested friends. While all three countries also had their own interests, including the collective or general interest of each nation. Peshawar (city of Pakistan and Capital of K.P. province) was the hub of all activities against the Soviet Union therefore dominant personalities of Afghanistan who were fighting against soviet came further close to the government of Pakistan. Furthermore, most of the Afghan war veterans after the defeat of the USSR or Soviet disintegration made government in Afghanistan such as Mullah Omar, who was the significant figure in the war against the Soviet Union and had good relations with Pakistan as well. Moreover, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar also remained under the detention when he was arrested in Pakistan then was released. Since than Islamabad had cordial relations with essential personalities of Afghan War who now dubbed as Taliban by the U.S. In this regard, Pakistan can play a vital role in bringing the peace in the region, therefore, it will be the biggest mistake of the U.S. if it tries to exclude Islamabad from Afghan issue.

The Peace deal leaves a positive impact on regional security as well as Pakistan if it is conducted successfully through rational observation of circumstances by all stakeholders. It will reopen the new vistas of opportunities such as turning the country’s direction from terrorism to tourism and other multiple things which will be very useful for the development and stability of the country. Besides, Imran Khan said in his speech to Iran that Trump had also told him to mediate between Saudi and Iran. If Saudi-Iran relations goes towards the normalization, this will also prove decisive for regional stability and progress. However, the record of the United States concerning the solution of these regional issues does not show an optimistic picture. The question arises if the U.S. does not want to solve the problems then why it releases such statements which do not have any practicality. It might be just because of diverting the attention of regional countries from one agenda to another which serves the U.S. interests.

Furthermore, it is also considered that there is a hidden agenda of the U.S. behind such kind of statements of normalizing the differences between both Saudi Arabia and Iran. It might be another agenda of America by showing the world that it wants to make peace in the region through normalizing the Iran-Saudi tension, but these could only be words that do not keep the essence of practicality. Similarly, the recent development by the U.S. Administration over Kashmir is not fully disclosed that what are the objectives of the United States behind this new statement? Because the U.S. has been playing the role of trouble creator since long, whenever America realizes that it can achieve its national interest just through giving a statement that will never be materialized, it does this for achieving its objectives and interests. In this regard, all the regional states have to make policies and take actions that will prove beneficial for the peace, stability, and progress of not only regional states but also for the whole world instead of waiting for American dictations and decisions.

The writer is Ph.D. scholar in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan.