The Pentagon has submitted a plan to Congress for the rehabilitation and integration of Taliban fighters in the Afghan society. The Pentagon believes that security and jobs will help the Taliban fighters to give up armed struggle and to start to a new life. This was reported by the American media.
This plan says that “although some members of the Taliban may be weary of fighting and ready to lay down their weapons, they will only rejoin society if they believe their safety and the safety of their families are guaranteed, and if they have an opportunity to earn enough money to provide for their families.”
The Pentagon, however, notes that while local leaders are developing programmes that may offer a path to peace on a small scale, “the Afghan government has not developed a national reintegration programme.” Afghanistan needs National Reintegration and Rehabilitation Program to achieve long lasting peace and stability.
The Trump administration has started peace talks with Taliban in UAE to work out a political settlement with Taliban to end the decade’s long conflict and fighting. Pakistan is also playing an active role in these talks. Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is on a 4 nation visit to take regional powers in confidence and to share details of this process.
The Pentagon report further says that over the past 16 months, the United States and its partners have used military force to drive the Taliban towards “a durable and inclusive political settlement.”
The Pentagon report claims that this selective use of force persuaded the Taliban to accept the Eidul Fitr ceasefire in June. Even though the Taliban did not publicly accept the second ceasefire offer, “there’re indicators of support within the Taliban senior leadership and a desire to pursue negotiations,” it adds.
The Pentagon also supports the peace process initiated by US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation (SRAR), Ambassador Zalmay Khalilizad, who has already held a series of meetings with Taliban in Qatar and the UAE and regularly visits Afghanistan and its neighbouring states, like Pakistan and India.
Increased military pressure on the Taliban, international calls for peace, and the new SRAR’s engagements appear to be driving the Taliban to negotiations, says the Pentagon report.
The report, however, acknowledges that the Taliban control large portions of Afghanistan’s rural areas, and continue to attack poorly defended government checkpoints and rural districts.
A key element in the Pentagon’s proposal for persuading the Taliban to stay engaged in the peace process is to “ensure the long-term sustainability of the ANDSF,” which would “demonstrate to the Taliban the international communities’ firm resolve in Afghanistan.”
President Trump announced to withdraw the half of American troops from Afghanistan. Many experts see this announcement as an effort to bring the Taliban at the table to hold talks with Trump administration. America still wants to keep at least 7,000 troops in Afghanistan. But Taliban is demanding a complete withdrawal of troops.
There is still long way to go to strike a peace deal with Taliban and to finalize the details and conditions of the political settlement. The Trump administration wants a ceasefire as the first step towards peace and political settlement.
The pentagon plan shows that Trump administration is seriously working on a long term plan for the integration and rehabilitation of Taliban fighters. It is good sign that US finally realized that political settlement is the only solution of Afghan conflict.
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17 August, 2019