In the context of peace talks with the Taliban, in recent years, one of the most difficult challenges faced by the governments of Afghanistan and the United States has been to persuade or force the Taliban to join the process of negotiations to end the war and establish peace.
In recent months separate efforts have been made by Afghanistan, the United States, and some regional and transnational actors to prepare the ground for peace talks with the Taliban but the output did not have any effect on the gradual end of the violence and conflict in Afghanistan.
The announcement of the Kabul government’s readiness for talks without preconditions with the Taliban to modify the constitution of Afghanistan, the holding of the International Peace Conference hosted by Russia in Moscow, with the participation of representatives of some regional countries, including Iran, Taliban representatives and a delegation from the Afghan High Peace Council at the event as well as talks between Zalmai Khalilzad, the Special Representative of the United States on Afghanistan and the Taliban representatives in the United Arab Emirates are among the actions taken by the Afghan government, international actors, and the US government for peace talks with no considerable outcome.
In examining the causes of the failure of various efforts to hold peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, the inflexible stance of this group on the need for withdrawal of American and NATO forces from Afghanistan is considered to be the main cause and the perpetuation of this state has overshadowed the peace talks like a ghost.
In the meantime, the publication of some news reports about Iran holding talks with the Taliban in Tehran simultaneously with the visit of Admiral Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council to Kabul, and his meetings with senior Afghan officials, once again drew attention to the role that Afghanistan’s neighbors play in the process of the country’s developments.
Shamkhani’s remarks on continuation of Iran-Taliban talks and the prior knowledge of the Afghan government of these talks showed that Tehran, despite some false claims that Iran was supplying arms and equipment to the Taliban, did not conceal these talks and adopted this approach within the framework of the joint interests of Kabul and Tehran and at a higher level to help establish security in the region.
There is this idea that Iran by holding talks with the Taliban aims at the following targets: maintain information (intelligence) control of the Taliban group; review ways to help revitalize inter-Afghan talks for stabilization and peace and stability in Afghanistan, as well as further encourage the Taliban to confront and control ISIS (Daesh) and prevent the expansion of its activities which could pose a security threat against Iranian borders.
Given the prevailing rivalry and confrontation between the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan, Iran has an opportunity to take advantage of this conflict by taking all its aspects in line with national interests and maintain its territorial integrity.
Under conditions that the options of war or peace in Afghanistan to establish peace based on struggle or negotiation, has reached an impasse due to the Taliban’s persistence that the US and NATO forces must withdraw from Afghanistan, the announcement of US President Donald Trump‘s decision to pull out seven thousands of its troops from Afghanistan has raised the hope that the decision (if implemented) will pave the way for peace talks in this country.
Despite the fact that within the United States serious objections have been voiced to Trump’s decision on military withdrawal from Afghanistan, the president who finds Washington’s security policy outside the US territory, in contradiction with the common practice of government behavior in the international system based on political gains measures by economic benefits only, and believes the continuation of military presence in Afghanistan has inflicted widespread economic losses that cannot be tolerated anymore.
While American strategists consider US military expenditures in various countries imperative to maintain the prestige and strengthen the hegemonic role of the United States, Trump’s remarks on his unexpected and few-hours-long visit to Iraq that the US no longer wants to play the role of an international policeman shows that it does not have the ability to act as a global policeman for various reasons.