Afghanistan War: Why Taliban refused to come on table?

By M. Tahir Khan.

On Saturday 5th March, 2016 Afghan Taliban concluded all discussion in international forums by refusing to participate in talks being brokered by representative of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and United States of America in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Taliban leadership through their spokesman announced that Leadership of Council of Islamic Emirate decided and rejected talks and has not authorized anyone to participate in these talks. This announcement ended all long exercise by four nations to bring Taliban on table.

Taliban leadership not rejected to participate in scheduled talks, but also repeated their conditions and demands to take up peace process further. The conditions include:

First, withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan, this condition of Afghan Taliban is consistent for the last decade.

2nd, release of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.

3rd, removal all Taliban leadership names from UN black list.

Now question arises here, what forced Taliban leaders to suspend direct talks with Afghan government, even though talks are being backed by four important countries. There can be many reasons, however if we look into detail, few important facts from the recent month can narrate it.

First, Afghan Taliban’s first condition is not yet met, means withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan, instead last year in October, 2015 US President Obama announced to keep 5500 US troops in Afghanistan till further orders on the plea for larger national interest of US to provide training to Afghan forces and tracking down Al Qaeda. In the presence of foreign forces on Afghan soil, it looks hardly feasible that talks will carry forward, as this is first ever demand since US invasion on Afghanistan.

2nd, After one decade of the continuous war with foreign forces and Kabul government, Taliban are in a firm position in Afghanistan taking the control of more and more territory each passing day. This can be evident from the fact that last year Afghan Taliban took control of northern city of Kunduz for 15 days and during control Taliban destroyed government offices, facilities, seized military hardware, hunted opponents and freed prisoners, where Afghan forces had seek the help of US forces to re capture the city. Furthermore, in the last six months Afghan forces had been withdrawn from two districts of Helmand including Musa Qala and Nawzad, which remained scene of British bloodshed in the province.

Third, in the last one decade Afghan Taliban are getting control of more territory and its Kabul’s desire to bring Taliban on a negotiating table, to halt upcoming spring operations by Taliban.

Taliban’s announcement to reject direct talks with Kabul government shows that quadrilateral talks initiated by four countries failed to bring in peace in Afghanistan. However, talks with Taliban would be more fruitful if it will be carried forward directly between US government representatives and Taliban, as it will draw final conclusions, if any. The US government is the only party which is in authoritative position to discuss the conditions of Afghan Taliban, whether its foreign forces withdrawal or releasing of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay or removal of Taliban leadership from UN Blacklist.

Finally, the matter of fact, in near future we will see more fight and bloodshed on Afghan soil.

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