For the first time, the Biden Administration in Washington has chalked out what it sees as a future plan for Afghanistan and peace in the country, where it has deployed troops since it invaded the country at the end of 2001. In a letter addressed to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and delivered through Zalmay Khalilzad, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the Afghan government must establish an interim setup to govern Afghanistan with the Taliban. This arrangement would be followed by a commission which would organise new polls and hopefully lead Afghanistan to a future under which the rights of minorities, women and children could be protected. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission, somewhat on the pattern of the one that was established in South Africa after the fall of the apartheid regime, has also been suggested.
The letter is fairly tersely worded and indicates that the US would like President Ghani to note, more urgently, the situation in Afghanistan and the need to amend it. Both parties, the Afghan government and the Taliban, have been called to Turkey next week to begin the process of discussion. President Ashraf Ghani has made it clear that he will not work with the Taliban, or accept an interim government, stating at one point in the past that this would only happen over his ‘dead body’.
But it is obvious that the Biden Administration believes it needs to act. Violence in Afghanistan has increased dramatically over the past year, with hundreds killed in the fighting. The purpose of a new government would be to draw the Taliban to the table so that they lay down their arms and also end violence by warlords, who control large parts of Afghanistan and add to the violence that has ripped the country apart. During his tenure as vice president under Obama, Joe Biden had opposed an increase in American military presence in Afghanistan. At this moment, he has suggested that the US may change its mind on withdrawing all troops by May this year, as had been proposed by the Trump regime. Certainly, what Afghanistan needs is peace at all costs. This peace however must be worked out by Afghanistan itself and the Afghan people. Outside intervention is not a welcome step. But for a temporary period, given the chaos that the US invasion has left Afghanistan in, it may be necessary. It would also be good to see neighbouring countries, including Iran and Pakistan, come into the picture and play a part in resolving the Afghan situation so that peace can finally prevail in a country that has known nothing but war for decades, and where thousands of people have suffered due to unrelenting militancy which has torn the country and its culture apart.