But what happens next remains a problem. Although on March 18, 2020, the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. forces have already begun to leave the country. Some in the United States question the terms of the agreement and even call it a surrender document. Faced with the weakness of the Kabul government and the U.S. branch that has supported your troops, some would say that they support the Kabul government, others fear that the Taliban will wait for American troops to leave and invade Kabul, as they did in 1995. If that happens, the 20 years of war and the loss of nearly 2,500 American lives will have nothing to do. After lengthy negotiations, the agreement between the United States and the Taliban and the joint declaration of the Afghan U.S. government were signed in February 2020. These agreements were seen as necessary and important first steps for intra-Afghan negotiations – and thus to achieve peace in Afghanistan – but they do not guarantee that intra-Afghan negotiations will be successful. Afghanistan`s stability is intrinsically linked to regional stability and security.
Destabilizing trends in neighbouring countries and their possible flooding to Afghanistan would likely jeopardize progress in the peace process. While it is not clear who is talking for the Afghan government, it is also unclear who is talking about the Taliban. The Taliban are not a single unified organization, but consist of different commanders and militias throughout Afghanistan, many of whom have conflicting ideas about the war and now about the peace agreement. The Taliban leaders who negotiated the peace agreement came from the Taliban-led group, called Quetta Shura. This group is atonic Pakistan and is largely a political and economic organization. Quetta Shura controls the highly profitable opium and heroin trade that funds the Taliban`s military operations in Afghanistan. Quetta Shura is ruled by high-ranking Taliban, including Haibutullah Akhundzada, Mohammed Yaqub, Mohammed Omar and Abdul Ghani Baradar. But the Taliban have their own leadership problems. The team negotiating the Doha peace agreement does not necessarily argue in favour of Taliban commanders on the ground, who may not be ready or able to give up the fight and lay down their arms.
This leaves room for continued struggle, even after an agreement in Kabul. In addition to the formal agreement signed [PDF] between the United States and the Taliban, the New York Times and others reported that the agreement also contained classified annexes. In February 2020, members of Congress wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper expressing concerns about these annexes, particularly proposals that the United States would begin sharing information with the Taliban. Since then, U.S. Department of Defense and State Department officials have indicated that there are classified elements of the agreement, which probably refer to the conditions for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The agreement also provides that the Taliban and the Afghan government will begin a “dialogue and negotiations” on 10 March 2020, a date that has already passed. The specific themes of this “dialogue and negotiations” are not specified, but they should at least include the role of the Taliban in a future Afghan government, the role of Islamic law in the Afghan constitution, the protection and rights of women and other minorities and, ultimately, the direction of the country. As a precursor to intra-Afghan negotiations, the agreement states that the United States is ready to cooperate “with all parties concerned” in the release of war prisoners and political prisoners.
The agreement provided that the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners by March 10, 2020 and that the Taliban would release 1,000 Afghan prisoners.