Big Challenges are waiting for Taliban

 The war initiated on 19 years ago and that was also in September. And now on September 12, 2020, the same opponents sat in Doha, Qatar, looking for peace instead of war. It is a horrible joke of history. Once history will definitely ask such warlords and hypocritical pacifists to take accountability for the killing of thousands of civilians.

 Even, ordinary Afghans want peace now. But could the Taliban meet their expectation? This time they are facing a tougher challenge than defeating a foreign opponent from the notches of the mountains with a gun.

NATO generals are not at the negotiating table currently. This time the Taliban have to deal with the dissidents. They will get a share of power in Kabul only if they can convince the various quarters of their country through arguments and assurances.

Twenty-one Taliban leaders came to Doha

Although "Taliban" means "students", the group having 21 members that came to Doha to negotiate has no young individual. During the occupation of Kabul in 2016, the Taliban were led by young people. 

Five years after losing power in the face of NATO aggression and ending 19 years of guerrilla warfare, everyone in the leadership is now quite old.

The so-called "Chief Justice" Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai is leading the Taliban in Doha. This graduate of Darul Uloom Haqqania in North-West Pakistan is also in his sixties.

His team will face a team of 20-members Afghan and the negotiation would be led by former detective Mohammad Masum of the same age. The undeclared representatives of Iran, Russia, Pakistan and India will also be present in the vicinity of the conference in Doha.

They all have a deep interest in peace in Afghanistan as well as in war. And the United States is there. The latest weapons could not help them to win in Afghanistan. So now they need the cover of peace to protect their face. The war has already cost them more than 800 billion.

Compromise after the compromise of Taliban

As many as 43,000 civilians have died in the 19-years of the Afghan war. This is the official account of the direct conflict. Unofficially, this number is several times higher.

According to the Afghan Ministry of Health, two-thirds of civilians in the long war are mentally ill. Healthcare is ineffective in marginal areas. The infrastructure is in shambles.

People are dying due to lack of pure water and nutrition. One million Afghans are refugees inside the country. There are another 2.5 million in the surrounding countries.

It is innate for such a community to be frantic to get out of the war. The Taliban is from grassroots; it is quite manageable for them to discern the aspirations of the people. As a result, despite being an 'occupying power', they are in the negotiation table with NATO.

Following the agreement reached on February 28, they now have to sit down with the NATO-backed Afghan government. It should be remembered here that this is the government that they did not recognize once.

Will Taliban accept women education? 

The Afghan government has already released 5,000 Taliban prisoners. The Taliban have also released 1,000 pro-government detainees. But the main test for both sides is waiting ahead. 

The Doha meeting will decide how the current coalition partners with the Taliban can form an interim government. How will the country be ruled in the future? Even before that, the condition of the permanent ceasefire has to be fixed.

 The surrender of Taliban fighters in the future is also a sensitive issue. However, the main focus of the international media is now on the future of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

 The Taliban was very conservative about women's education; this time there will be no option for them without recognizing women education. 

But as soon as they compromise on this issue, they have to be accountable to the hardline members in the field. Taliban negotiators in Doha have indicated they will not mind seeing women in places other than the posts of president and chief justice.

The challenge of uniting all nationalities

Inclusion of the country's ethnic minorities, including Hazaras, Tajiks and Uzbeks, in the power hierarchy will be the acid test. The whole Taliban group is Pashtun-influenced. Hazaras and Uzbeks have inconsistent relations with Pashtuns. 

The Taliban do not seem to be able to regain control over those areas. Because Hazaras, Uzbeks and Tajiks have enjoyed too much freedom in their areas under the umbrella of NATO over the past 19 years.

Balancing relation with Pakistan and India in future also becoming a tough challenge for the Taliban. The current government in Kabul has a clear Indian influence, which is excruciating for Islamabad. 

With the Taliban at the forefront, Pakistan will crave to corner India in Afghanistan. It will be problematic for the Taliban leadership to equalize this tension.

When the interests of the Taliban and Trump are the same

The Doha talks have developed an identical circumstance for the Afghan government as well as the Taliban.  Coalitions in this government are too many. There is also a lot of disagreement within the government over the limits of concessions to the Taliban. 

The United States will have to intervene again and again to bridge this gap. But the challenge is different, for the US diplomats.

In Trump's interest, they will have to come up with some definite breakthroughs from the Doha talks before next November, which will put Trump ahead in the election campaign. Trump wants to show that he is liberating the country from 19 years of war. 

This situation of the Taliban is not incomprehensible. It is no secret that they are currently in Doha for Trump. There are risks in this situation. The concessions they are getting now from the United States may not be the same after November.

As a result, if the peace talks do not take a step forward before November, the entire issue will dangle for a long time. For this, the Taliban must also make early settlements.

 But Afghan-IS could take its chances. Even more violent factions within the Taliban could be formed to oppose the deal.

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