An end to the bloody civil war in Afghanistan has always been elusive. Fighting continues unabated despite the ongoing peace talks in Doha between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
Taliban is bent on negotiating from a position of strength. The US announcement of a pull-back by January 15 next year, the outgoing Trump administration has given the Taliban negotiators the upper hand and left little room for maneuver for President-elect Joe Biden. This was Donald Trump’s election promise to his base that American lives will not be sacrificed for wars abroad and he wants to honour it. What happens in Afghanistan is of little concern.
Acting US defence secretary Christopher Miller, appointed after Mark Esper was sacked by Trump, hinted about imminent troop withdrawals: He wrote on November 13 that “all wars must end” and “it’s time to come home,” according to reports in the US press.
For the Ashraf Ghani government in Kabul, battling with the increasingly violent attacks across the country, including in the capital city, from a variety of fundamentalist groups, including the Daesh, (the local term for the ISIS) and elements of al Qaeda, the endgame appears increasingly difficult.