Talks between US and Taliban – Discussion on an Early Withdrawal by July

Currently, the process of US forces withdrawal and the Afghan Peace settlement is one of the biggest headaches. This applies not only to the US but also to the regional stakeholders.  Last year, the US and the Taliban signed a peace agreement in Doha. The deal called for political settlement and peace in Afghanistan in return for US withdrawal by May 1st of 2021.

Apparently, that could not happen. Biden was unfortunate enough to receive all the predicaments caused by President Trump. Mr Trump at the time knew that calling a withdrawal is very hasty. It was evident that it will be a hefty task for the next administration. That is exactly what happened.

Afghan Withdrawal, A Challenge for Biden

When Biden took hold of the office in early 2021, his country was already in turmoil. America was facing a million internal issues. However, the biggest challenge was the Afghan withdrawal. Seeing all the figures and situation, Biden initially announced that the withdrawal will not be possible. There is an expected delay in the withdrawal. This announcement called in for a harsh reaction from the Taliban.

Biden announced last month that US forces will be withdrawing by September 11 of this year. A very symbolic day to withdraw on, something we expect the Taliban to later cash upon. However, as reported, Kabul stated that the US and the Taliban might agree on hasty and early withdrawal by July.

Keeping this in mind, we can say that this will be a key event that would determine the peace in the region because the Kabul government is already brainstorming on how to contain the Taliban on its own once these foreign forces are gone.

For that, US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited Kabul on Monday to discuss the developments on withdrawal, which started on recent Saturday, May 1st. Zalmay also met with Marshal Dostum in Tashkent before coming to Kabul. In Tashkent, Zalmay also had the opportunity to meet Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, with whom Zalmay discussed the Afghan Peace Process.

Meeting at Dostum

The Afghan peace process was the main crux of the discussion with Dostum. Dostum, like his rank, is a very influential figure in Afghan, either it is in terms of politics or security. Once a warlord fighting against the Taliban, he is now a government official and was given a five-star rank in 2020.

Zalmay also met with Afghan negotiation officials in Qatar last week to discuss the developments in the negotiation process. Qatar has been a vital bridge between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

However, despite everything, the Taliban have also been unpredictable as they have already refused to participate in the Istanbul Conference that has been postponed twice. Now it is to see if the July withdrawal takes place or not? If it does, what impact will it have on regional peace?


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