US-Taliban peace deal: What to expect?

Delhi Feb 27, 2020, 08.41 PM(IST) Written By: WION

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The agreement could mark the start of a new era for Afghanistan, but there are questions about the Taliban's intentions.

All eyes are on the peace talks in Qatar. 30 nations are expected to be present at the historic signing of a deal in Doha on February 29.  Indian envoy in Doha, Kumaran, will be representing India after the invite was sent by the Qatari government.

Over 1,00,000 lives were lost and millions were displaced in two decades of conflict. It's the longest war in American history. A war that cannot be won.

The future of Afghanistan is at stake  - once again. Washington and the Taliban are set to sign a peace deal this Saturday in order to secure America's long-pending exit from the war-torn country.

The agreement could mark the start of a new era for Afghanistan, but there are questions about the Taliban's intentions. And a political crisis threatens to plunge the country deeper into crisis.

Among the elected elite, there's a dispute over who will lead Afghanistan. There are two contenders - Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, both of whom have claimed victory in the recently concluded elections.

Under the US pressure, they have both stopped mid-way in their bid to take office momentarily. 

This deal is significant - it would see the pentagon pull out troops after 18 years of war. In return, the Taliban has promised to give up arms. The agreement, however, doesn't amount to a full ceasefire.

The United States insists that some troops must remain to tackle the Islamic State and Jihadist groups.

And there's also a fear that the Taliban could go back to its days of repression. To make matters worse, the Afghan government is not part of the peace process, and would also not be attending the ceremony for the peace agreement.

The countdown has begun - the Afghan peace plan is a historic breakthrough. But the haste with which the deal has been struck could spell trouble.

And one quarter which could be the source of trouble is the elected government of Afghanistan being kept out of the peace process.