Friday, October 30, 2020 | ePaper

Peace Pact Between US-Taliban Must Not Be A Prank

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Since the US-led invasion in 2001, Afghanistan has never been as insecure as it is now. The Taliban control more territory than at any point since the removal of their regime 19 years ago. The US invaded Afghanistan weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York by the Afghanistan based al-Qaeda group. The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense but also more complicated. The attacks are becoming bigger, more frequent, more widespread and much deadlier. Both sides - the Taliban and the US and NATO-backed Afghan government - are trying to gain the upper hand. The US and the Taliban have lastly signed an "agreement for bringing peace in Afghanistan" on February 29, 2020 at Doha in Qatar after more than 19 years of conflict.
More than 2,400 US troops have been killed during the conflict. About 12,000 are still stationed in the country. President Trump has promised to put an end to the conflict. After the agreement, President Trump said it had been a "long and hard journey" in Afghanistan. It is time after all these years to bring our people back home.
Ahead of elections in November this year, Donald Trump has repeatedly signalled his interest in bringing home US forces as soon as possible. He has already promised to reduce the number to 5,000 by November, the lowest levels since the invasion began in 2001.
Lest we forget, the CIA gave birth to Osama Bin Laden and breastfed his organization during the 1980's to fight against former Soviet Russia. Former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told the House of Commons that Al Qaeda was unquestionably a product of Western intelligence agencies. Mr. Cook explained that Al Qaeda was originally the computer database of the thousands of Islamist extremists, who were trained by the CIA and funded by the Saudis, in order to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan. America's relationship with Al Qaeda has always been a love-hate affair. When it has alleged that Al-Qaeda made a terrorist attack at Twin Tower in America, then everything has been changed and within short time, the most favourite friend became a cruel foe and finally America attacked Afghanistan. Basically US Government is not interested to incur the huge loss of war and insurgents fighting with Taliban.
According to US government figures, between 2010 to 2012, when the US for a time had more than 100,000 soldiers in the country, the cost of the war grew to almost $100 billion in a year. As the US military shifted its focus away from offensive operations and concentrated more on training up Afghan forces, costs fell sharply. Between 2016 and 2018 annual expenditure was around $40 billion and the estimated spend for  upto September 2019 is $38 billion.
An independent study carried out by Brown University argues that the official US figures for the Afghan war are a substantial underestimate. It says that Congress has approved funds amounting to about one trillion dollars for Afghanistan as well as for Pakistan.
Since the war against the Taliban began in 2001, US forces have suffered more than 2,400 deaths and around 20,660 soldiers injured in action. According to official figures, approximately 13,000 US military personnel were in Afghanistan as of December 2019, but there were also nearly 11,000 US civilians who were working as contractors. But US casualty figures are dwarfed by the loss of life among Afghan security forces and civilians.
And according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama), more than 100,000 civilians have been killed or injured since it began systematically recording civilian casualties in 2009.
The greatest risk of the US-Taliban peace pact is that the present Afghanistan government is solely depends on US security forces. Many things have not been clearly mentioned in the US-Taliban peace pact and what will be the future government is a big question to the relevant experts.
However, though the Taliban has shown an interest to democracy but their ultimate target is to form the government based on Shariah law and they don't believe any women empowerment and leadership in any level. On the other hand, many extreme military sub groups are active in Afghanistan and after the US-Taliban peace agreement, some insurgents fighting have been made and Taliban said they are not involved in such attacks. So, there is a pertinent question who are behind those attacks and how it would prevail peace in Afghanistan, if such groups are continue their attacks in the next government.

(Mr. Zillur Rahaman is a Banker and Freelance Contributor. Email: zrbbbp@gmail.com)

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