‘Reduction in Violence’ imposed
On February 22, the United States, Taliban and Afghan government agreed on a week-long “reduction in violence”. Post this week, United States may sign a peace agreement with the Taliban on February 29. This treaty will act as the first phase of the peace talks which would most likely end the ‘forever wars’, nearly after two decades.
Towards the end of 2018, the Taliban proposed that they would discuss peace in Afghanistan with the United States. Last year, Washington had come extremely close to an agreement with the Taliban but after a sudden increase in violence and the death of a US Soldier, US called off all negotiations. After several roadblocks including opposition from the Afghan security forces, towards the end of 2019, peace talks were back on track but with the proposal of a conditional ceasefire.
On February 21, the president of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani announced the ‘Reduction In Violence’ (RIV) throughout Afghanistan and the Afghani armed forces have been put on an ‘active defence status’. The army has been briefed personally by the president and is instructed to act immediately if there is any opposition or violation of the RIV. The military operations against the armed groups such as the ISIS are to be carried out as usual, assured by Javid Faisal, spokesperson for the Afghani NSA.
After the deadly attacks of September 2001, the United States issued a Global War on Terror and deployed troops in Afghanistan. Since then, the Taliban and the US have been in constant conflicts and temporary peace talks. But due to extreme violence carried out by the terror group, the negotiations were dissolved every time. Since 2011, the major Taliban delegation has been hosted by Qatar. A Taliban office was also opened in 2013 to smoothen the channels but was shut down that same year. The talks in 2018 and 2019 have been considered a major breakthrough in for all the parties involved.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo believes that these peace talks with Taliban would be extremely beneficial in the long term conflict resolution in Afghanistan. The spokesperson of Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid corroborated the development and praised the peace deal between both the representatives. US president Donald Trump had sworn to end the forever wars and bring the troops back home. This temporary ceasefire and eventual agreements have the capacity to fulfil Trump’s manifesto amid 2020 elections.