Look at it with great confidence “Final and Decisive Phase”. Very pessimistic “The Beginning of the Decline”. But Afghan politicians and Western diplomats acknowledge the importance of the new round of talks with the Taliban imposed by the United States, which will begin in Moscow on Thursday, March 18 and continue in Istanbul in April.
Although the talks in Doha since September have been mired in technical details, Washington has not been willing to pull them off. They are expected to last a few weeks, before the Taliban spring attack. Not to find a lasting solution to the Afghan conflict, but to allow the United States to send back its troops that were stationed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, thus ending the longest war they have ever waged. “The Americans threw away their last card. We can say they did it violently,” he said. Compiled by an Afghan official.
Taliban in numbers
The Moscow conference will last only one day. It will unite the heavy weights of Afghan politics: former President Hamid Karzai, former Vice President Karim Galilee, parliamentary spokesman Rahman Rahmani, veterans Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abdul Rashid Dostam, and Abdullah Abdullah, President of the High Council for Reconciliation. US Ambassador Salme Khalilzad will represent the United States.
The Taliban will also be in numbers. “They wanted to come with all the negotiators in Doha, i.e. 21 People but Khalilzad persuaded them to come to only ten ”, Said one politician involved in the debate. Their delegation should be led by Mulla Bhardar Akund, who is already serving in Qatar, or Abdul Ghani Bhardwar, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2010 and released eight years later. “It’s good if Abdul Ghani Bharat, we can discuss with him, he is very flexible. Mulla Akund is a fanatic of religion, he only talks about it, he will never give up”, “he said. A negotiator explains. Chinese and Pakistani ambassadors will also attend.
Negotiations in Moscow, scheduled for several weeks, will not succeed. “It will be informal, everyone will throw their dice, with maximum positions. But we know what to do for the future, let’s see what are the circling angles”, “he said. A relative of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar explains. The actual talks will begin in Turkey in April, at least for a week, with one main objective: to establish an interim government.
President of “Perserk”
The idea has been around since the Taliban gained military victories and regional gains. But President Ashraf Ghani, who has wanted to end his mandate against the backdrop of an unprecedented level of corruption since 2001, has always rejected it. “He will do anything to stay in power as much as possible. He knows he is not part of the future solution. “ Mentions a foreign diplomat.
But this time, he will be hard to deny. The New American administration wrote to him saying so. An interim government is at the center of Washington’s new peace plan dated February 28. Everything from the levels being evenly distributed is detailed there “Two Parts” To its organization around the four branches – one of which is responsible for managing and the other for justice. This new government will remain in force until the new constitution is adopted and elections are held. Only some details are marked «[xx]» In the document, there is no word prior to its creation.
It was US Ambassador Salme Khalilzad who brought the project to Ashraf Ghani during a visit to the Presidential Palace in Kabul. “As soon as he left, Connie was frantic. He started insulting her by shouting.” Tells an Afghan politician. A few days later, to a speaker who asked him about Ghani’s rejection of the idea of an interim government, Khalilzad responded with a smile: “Don’t worry, this is our business.”
“Biden wants a quick start”
The president of Afghanistan has little room for maneuvering, as US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen sent him a letter in early March in a very diplomatic tone, urging him to take up the terms of the peace plan and train a new government. . With the threat at the end: “I want to be clear with you, […] The United States does not reject any option, He writes. We continue to consider full withdrawals [de nos troupes] 1st May, we are considering other options. Even if the US continues its financial assistance after the withdrawal, the security situation will worsen and the Taliban will be able to reap regional benefits quickly. I want to be clear with you so that you understand the urgency. “
This brutal tone is not surprising. New US President Joe Biden has been urging the US military to leave the country for years. When he was Barack Obama’s vice president, he was one of the few in the administration to oppose sending 30,000 people as reinforcements in 2010. He supports limited intervention in terrorism. For CIA Special Forces and Auxiliary Forces.
“Afghan officials believed the Americans were going to stay. They made a mistake and are starting to realize it. Biden wants a quick start, maybe 1 week behind. May, but not much “, Foreign diplomat explains. Joe Biden said it was possible to withdraw on Wednesday May 1st “Difficult”, Noting that he will announce his decision soon. “We can have an interim government in June, with election promises 2022, and the departure of Americans in the summer. This will allow them to leave immediately without confusion. “ Gilles Torranzoro, a professor at the Paris I-Sorbonne, joins.
The Taliban can agree to an interim government if the United States proves the need to withdraw its troops. This has been their goal for almost twenty years. They have already achieved it systematically. The agreement, signed in Qatar a year ago, confirmed the withdrawal, in exchange for a pledge that they would not leave jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda, which has killed several leaders on Afghan soil in recent months. States and its allies.
Refusing a ceasefire
On the other hand, the Taliban have always refused to sign the ceasefire agreement demanded by Kabul for more than a year, which appears in the new US plan. In recent months, assassinations of politicians, activists, journalists and police officers have continued. On the military front, the rebels have been advancing since the signing of the agreement with Washington. They did not capture provincial capitals, but they advanced, especially in the south and north. Attacking Afghan army bases and checkpoints, often guarded by a few armed men, they approached Kandahar, encircling several large cities, including their historic stronghold of Lashkar-e-Taiba or Kunduz.
U.S. military officials presented their predictions. If foreign troops withdraw quickly, NATO forces will not be able to survive without US logistics, and ten provinces, in 31, will be in danger. According to a recent report by the US Special Investigator’s Office for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan (Sikar), Afghan aviation may be missing. “Key Support” If the Pentagon does not offer an alternative solution after the withdrawal.
On the other hand, there are risks that the US program will stumble upon the question of elections. Over the years, polls have become harder to organize, suffering from massive fraud and low turnout. Their results will plunge them into endless conflicts. Abdullah Abdullah believes that he has won the last two elections and that only US will have imposed Ashraf Ghani as the winner. The Taliban, for their part, never hid the fact that they did not want an election. “Their problem is that they will lose them. Hazaras (A Shiite minority ethnic group) Many voters in the North will vote against them, Gilles Torranzoro explains. When the Taliban win militarily they cannot lose themselves politically. “