Slightest Policy Shift in US-Taliban Deal May Jeopardise Afghan Peace Process, Analyst Warns

The new Pentagon chief has announced an American troop pull-out from Afghanistan as the 19-year long war is seemingly coming to an end. However, it’s not enough, says Pakistani political analyst Sabtain Ahmed Dar, outlining the importance of Washington and Islamabad’s role in backing Kabul’s reconciliation with the Taliban in the coming years.

On 16 November, the Trump administration ordered the return of 2,500 US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, thus reducing the American presence in the countries from 3,000 to 2,500 and from 4,500 to 2,500, respectively.

Announcing the move, Acting Defence Secretary Christopher C. Miller told reporters that the decision was in keeping with President Trump’s promise to end “forever wars”. Miller replaced former Pentagon chief Mark Esper on 9 November together with Anthony Tata, Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Kash Patel, who filled key DoD roles after a series of resignations in the department.

US-Taliban Deal & Military Pull-Out

The US military withdrawal was one of the key provisions of Washington’s deal with the Taliban* which was signed on 29 February 2020 in Doha. In exchange the group, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, was obligated to cease military activities and engage in intra-talks with the country’s government.

​On 10 November, the Taliban called on Joe Biden, who the media predicted to win the election, to stay committed to the Doha peace accord.

It is unclear what strategy Biden would…

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