Test in Afghanistan: “Significant reduction in violence”

The Taliban hope that this will lead to the government’s replacement. “Emirate” is a claim that no other government tolerates. The government in Kabul does not recognize the Taliban with its “emirate”.

Source: Reuters

As of midnight today, Saturday, February 22nd, 2020, the population of Afghanistan is to be spared from the war for a week. The USA and the Taliban have agreed on a “significant reduction in violence” for this period. This is confirmed by the US State Department, the National Security Council of the Afghan government and – in a different wording – by the Taliban, who pretend to be the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”.

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The Emirate’s English-language website said on Friday that “both parties are now creating an appropriate security situation”. Which is directly connected: “in advance of agreement signing date”. Translated this means that the “suitable security situation” is the prelude to an appointment that is actually significant for the Taliban: February 29th. The U.S.-Taliban agreement is slated to be signed on this rare date.

The Taliban hope that this will lead to the government’s replacement. “Emirate” is a claim that no other government tolerates. The government in Kabul does not recognize the Taliban with its “emirate”.

Mined terrain

Afghanistan is a mined area. This is also to be understood literally. The Taliban said during the test week that one could not render all warheads in the whole country harmless. This is cited as one reason why there was no agreement with the terms “ceasefire” or “ceasefire”, which would have been completely different standards. Another reason is mutual distrust, the political terrain is also mined.

Recently, President Trump suddenly jumped off when the agreement was already ready for signature, as was rumored in early September 2019. Then Trump made one of his typical U-turns: “Negotiations with the Taliban are dead,” he said.

Then as now, the public does not know what concrete agreements the agreement contains. Both were negotiated with the Afghan government excluded between US negotiators and the Taliban delegation in Doha. The Taliban delegation to the previous agreement included a notorious figure from the former Taliban Emirate: Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the second Taliban man under Mullah Omar, who was head of state of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

Nothing reliable is also emerging from the current agreement.

Basic positions are known. Above all, from the Taliban, who make a firm statement on one main thing: They want the total withdrawal of US troops and their allies. The negotiation margin exists in the period. It has always been said that the Taliban have a different time perspective than the United States: they can wait, the US administration is under a different dictate of success and costs. In the end, the Taliban insist, there must be a full deduction.

The US government has other requirements. She wants a deduction on installments, the talk of a total deduction is avoided. Afghanistan is a neighboring country to Iran. The complete abandonment of the strategically favorable US military presence in the confrontation with Iran is not in the mind of the hawks.

President Trump is in the middle of the campaign for his next four years. Withdrawing the troops from the “endless”, expensive and depressing war in Afghanistan, if it can be sold well, would be a success story, the keeping of a campaign promise for the first term. He need not make any statements that make definitive statements about a total deduction.

The withdrawal of US troops is not only opposed to the question of what will become of those who, despite the horrific brutality of the US presence, also received some protection. What is happening to Afghan workers in the Western military and their allies? With the women, who at least partially achieved a better position, with the girls who received schooling that is not primarily geared to their submission to the dogmas of the religious patriarchy, with minorities like the Hazara who fear cruelty from the Taliban?

What happens to the politicians who worked with the United States – all corrupted anyway, who just make their way abroad to their expensive villas abroad? What is happening to the Afghan security forces, the police and the army?

As far as civil society is concerned, this creates excitement in a political camp that Trump doesn’t attach much importance to. He can ignore that.

But when it comes to national security interests, the US President, also known as Trump, has to deal with a politically powerful faction. She asks about the guarantees that the Taliban will not once again engage with jihadist terrorists from the al Qaeda strike and give them protection, as Bin Laden did before 9/11.

The wanted terrorist Haqqani in the New York Times on peace in Afghanistan

An article by Sirajuddin Haqqani appeared in the New York Times last Thursday, but that is no small sensation that the head of the so-called Haqqani network, which – unlike the Taliban – is listed by the United States as an Islamist terrorist organization, is in it Can publish medium.

What he writes is then almost irrelevant: of course about the peace that is now possible after so many years, about the distrust and the hint of good intentions: “We are aware of the concerns and questions inside and outside Afghanistan about which government we will have when the foreign troops have withdrawn … “

“My answer to these concerns is that it depends on the Afghan consensus. We should not put our concerns and troubles in the way of a process that involves a sincere discussion and a reflection that is free for the first time from foreign domination and interference”. Sirajuddin Haqqani

Sirajuddin Haqqani is son of Jalaluddin Haqqani. He was the leading East Pashtun commander of the Taliban in the previous Taliban emirate in the late 1990s and one of the “most celebrated commanders in the war against the Soviet Union”, as described by Ahmed Raschid in his book “Taliban. Afghanistan’s Warrior of God and Jihad” , There would also be a few starting points to the USA …

His son, Sirajuddin, is currently portrayed and classified by Thomas Jocelyn with these keywords: “global terrorist” with a suspended $ 10 million reward on a “fact sheet” of the US State Department, partner of al-Qaeda, allied with the Pakistani Mujahideen group Jaish-e Mohammed, a staunch supporter of the establishment of Sharia law in Afghanistan.

The screenwriters in Washington

Again and again Jocelyn emphasizes the close ties to al-Qaida that have existed between the Haqqanis and the terrorist organization for many years (Haqqani’s father was even a mentor to Bin Laden). For the author of the Long War Journal as well as for the second well-known author of the journal, Bill Roggio, there is absolutely no question that the Taliban is leading the US leadership around. That the deal with the Taliban means an unreasonable “appeasement”.

However, it should also be noted that both persons with some influence in Washington (Jocelyn is often heard as an expert on congress committees) belong to the core group of the neoconservatives. As much as they can be sources for a vigilant identification of jihadists and their connections, such as with Syrian militias, they are also aimed at drawing Iran into this network.

This shows an agenda that can spill over into the obsessive, how one can irritatingly observe at the head of the Think Tanks Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) – to which the Long War Journal belongs: What Mark Dubowitz has done in recent months and Weeks partially expressed about Iran is only possible in the United States or in the weirdest satirical broadcasts.

This should only be mentioned to show that the camp of the influential forces in the USA, which are resisting the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, is pursuing an agenda with a partly ideologically escalating obsession that ultimately has a lot to do with Iran.

Feel the Taliban’s promise

Still, Jocelyn and Roggio are really feeling the Taliban rhetoric. It cannot be overlooked that Sirajuddin Haqqani does not mention the al-Qaida problem in one word, just as the Taliban guarantees on this problem remain vague, are not clearly and unambiguously formulated, but leave a lot of leeway.

And this confirms the fear that the Taliban is not expected to do much good, despite all the well-meaning announcements on their part: nothing more than a somewhat more moderate update of the previous Islamic Emirate (from 1997 to December 2001).

The peace process, which the Afghan people believe will matter, is being negotiated between the Afghan government and the Taliban. After the peculiar counting process, which took months and only produced a sheer and highly controversial plus 50 percent share for the election winner Ghani, the government is very poorly equipped for the upcoming peace talks with the Taliban. [end]


The author of the article is Thomas Pany. Thomas Pany studied political science with Kurt Sontheimer at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, plus modern history and Semitic studies. The original article has been published in Telepolis. Translation and editing by Defenseweek’s team.