US President Donald Trump has just announced that he has canceled the peace talks with Taliban leaders. The decision was made after the Taliban claimed responsibility for last week’s attacks on Kabul, he said.
The Taliban condemned the decision as an “anti-peace” move. “Now that US President Trump has announced the suspension of negotiations… this would not harm anyone else but the Americans themselves,” the group said in a statement.
The Taliban said the cancellation of talks would “lead to more losses for the US”, “harm [its] credibility” and “show their anti-peace stance in [a] more clear way”.
First, it should be noted that Taliban’s suicide bombing in Afghanistan and the killing of an American soldier was a pretext by the Washington government for halting the peace talks with the Taliban. But the truth is that within the United States of America there have been serious criticisms by the US Congress of these negotiations. So when Zalmai Khalilzad, the US special envoy on Afghanistan who was in charge of negotiating with the Taliban, refused to go to Congress to give some explanations, the Congress’s stance on the negotiations became tougher and they demanded total transparency in reporting to the Congress about the issue.
On the other hand, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to sign a treaty or agreement that had been reached between the Taliban and the United States. So disagreements over a secret peace deal with the Taliban in Doha intensified within the United States both between the Congress and the White House and within the White House.
Another issue concerns dissatisfaction in Kabul; when Khalilzad went to Kabul to talk to Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah (Chief Executive), he did not provide them with the text of the deal but only gave them the text to read and return. That is, if the US had bypassed the Kabul government during negotiations with the Taliban so far, this time Washington showed that it did not take the Afghan government into account at all. The move appears to have hardly hurt Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan president who has stated that he is unwilling to participate in the Taliban talks with the US at Camp David.
So inside Afghanistan too there was a high level of discontent among political parties and social forces, because no one knows what deal has been reached between the Taliban and the United States, and it was only generally stated that the Americans had agreed to the term ‘Islamic Emirate’ for the Taliban and accepted the Taliban government as it was before. At the same time, the fact that the Taliban ignored the new constitution was unacceptable to the Afghan government, people and political forces.
Under these circumstances, the US government realized the problems and thus used the Kabul blasts as a pretext and declared that the peace talks with the Taliban had been suspended.
In fact, the President of the United States has somehow realized that signing the deal in its present form would not be very beneficial to Washington and that the Taliban would be the main winner. Because the Taliban included the issue of their return to power in the deal, although they were supposed to be part of the power structure at the beginning; but the Taliban still sought to seize all power and take over the entire country.
In the meantime, we see that the Taliban did not even halt military operations while negotiations with the United States were going on.
So perhaps as a businessman and economist, Trump wants to put the Taliban in a position to force them give more concessions, and if the negotiations resume, America would be in a better shape. At the same time, Trump appears to be in dire need of an agreement with the Taliban, so the talks may not have been totally ruled out and this is a tactical move by Washington to pressure the Taliban.
Eventually, given the Taliban’s reaction to the decision by Trump, the Taliban are likely to increase their military operations and target more US troops; because the Taliban find themselves in a superior position militarily over the central government, the national army and the police. If the Taliban attacks increase, it may spark the return of the US to the military scene and there may be a shift in Trump’s policy toward the Taliban.