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This is how Biden can still support peace in Afghanistan – The Diplomat


During a trip to France in April 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the great leader of the Afghan resistance, warning The European Parliament of an al-Qaida plotted to attack the United States and demanded more aid for Afghanistan. Celebrated by the French celebrations, he was largely ignored by the Americans. On September 9 of that year, a pair of al-Qaida agents posing as journalists assassinated Massoud at his Khwaja Bahauddin base. Two days later, the hijackers sent planes into the World Trade Center, a field in Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon. We know the rest of the story.

Choose the 20th anniversary 9/11 attacks do deadline It is poignant to let US troops out of Afghanistan, but perhaps not in the way President Joe Biden had hoped. Instead of a neat end to America’s longest war, this day will likely mark a new cycle of tragedy for the Afghans, and perhaps one day for the Americans too.

Reactions to withdrawal announcements vary, ranging from praise to Biden “Bold leadership” come contempt and criticize. Many commentators have spoken out deep disappointed, noting the relatively low costs of keeping the remaining 2,500 US troops in the country, the fragility of the peace process, the Taliban’s failure to sustain the end of the Doha Agreement – including assurances against terrorism father – and another significant risk of civil war engulfing Afghanistan without the deterrence of the international military presence. While Afghan President Ashraf Ghani enacted declare Recognizing the US decision, many other Afghans expressed dismay and alarm.

Only time will tell whether Biden’s withdrawal is a disaster for the region and for the United States. Right now, it is important that the United States not withdraw from the ongoing peace process. Biden still has policy options at its disposal to prevent the fall of the Afghan government, promote regional stability and security, and avert a layered crisis.

Biden’s first business goal was to pressure Pakistan to support a peaceful outcome in Afghanistan. Afghan analysts and officials have maintained for long that the course of the war would change if Pakistan stopped supplying reserves and weapons to the Taliban. Pakistan, more than any other country, can define Afghanistan’s political trajectory.

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Two former US presidents have failed to confront the Pakistani military intelligence facility. Donald Trump took a more positive stance in 2018, punishing Pakistan with aid cuts because playing both sides of the pitch, but does not have a clear strategy suitable for Afghanistan. US-Pakistan relationship since then recuperateand Pakistan did worry to prove yourself helpful and benign in the Afghan peace process.

But there is small reason claim that Pakistan’s new rhetoric reflects substantive policy changes. Pakistan’s support for the Taliban is an old and public secret; The Taliban chiefs remained move freely in Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar. Pakistan has spent decades flirting or tolerating extremists because foreign policy ended, devastating Afghanistan. and Domestic prices are too high. Did the hardliners in the Army and Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) really give up their core doctrine overnight? Very skeptical. Most recently in May 2020, United States Department of Defense confirmed that Pakistan is still harboring warriors.

Now that the US is withdrawing from Afghanistan, there is no reason to be at ease with Pakistan. Soon the US would no longer need Pakistani airspace or supply routes. Pakistan has leaned heavily towards China, which then pumped some 60 billion dollars entering the country through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and US-India relations have steadily improved. Pakistan is neither a reliable nor insignificant partner for the US to continue to underestimate its destructive role for its vain strategic interests.

There are several ways Biden can persuade Pakistan to change his behavior. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Will review Pakistan’s “gray list” status as a terrorist sponsor in June. Pakistan’s position on that list has been precisely identified big economic costs. Biden can hang the FATF lobby to black list If Pakistan does not cooperate, it will not cut off the Taliban.

How can the United States hold Pakistan accountable and comply with assessment? By tracking the arrests, detention and expulsion of the Taliban from Pakistani soil, but also by tracking reality on the ground in Afghanistan. If the Taliban’s resilience depended on transboundary paradises, then the US could measure Pakistan’s commitment to peace by the number and intensity of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan over the coming months – and the corresponding response.

Biden has other options further by severity: targeting key ISI and Army officers with sanctions, for example, or promoting designation of Pakistan state sponsors terrorism. Regardless of the particular tool chosen, the United States must set clear expectations and demonstrate consistency.

This road is not without risk. Predictably, it will arouse anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. But if the severe penalties motivate the country’s leaders to act, that will be the price to pay for the outrage of the people. Pakistan faces a familiar dilemma. It can continue to give land to increasingly assertive orthodox socialists, temporarily preserving order, or doing what is good for everyone by refusing to entertain radicalism – temporarily igniting the fire, but ultimately preserving the life live and national. We already know where the first approach leads.

Another risk: China could use the United Nations Security Council vote to shield Pakistan from penalties, or increase air and maritime provocations against its allies. America by tit-for-tat. But given China’s financial interests in Pakistan and threats to regional integration due to extreme violence and instability, this is an area where international adversaries can reach consensus.

Second, in parallel with the campaign to put pressure on Pakistan, Biden should do everything possible to support India-Pakistan relations. Two nuclear powers ceasefire declaration in February and since then there have been a number of different mediation proceedings. Affirming this progress and interacting closely with stakeholders is playing an active role, such as United Arab Emirates, should be the top priority for the United States. Working to reduce hostility with India could (slightly) defuse Pakistan’s security paranoia, make the game “strategic depth” – and hence Pakistan’s attachment to the Afghan Taliban – seems less necessary.

Third, Biden should further commit the United States’ attention and resources to transnational projects that will benefit Afghanistan in the long run. America has Traditionally viewed Central Asian countries through the lens of Russian and Chinese influence, consume less energy until recently on regional partnerships. However, projects such as Central Asia Power System (CAPS), will have more roadmap electricity to Afghanistan via Uzbekistan, and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline (TAPI), stalled but still expect To move forward, keeping its promise of a more stable and prosperous Afghanistan one day. Biden will do a good job leveraging US foreign policy and funding to support these and similar infrastructure initiatives.

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Ultimately, the US must continue to support the Afghan state, especially the Afghan National Security and Defense Force. Never in modern history has Afghanistan been financially self-sustaining. The Afghan government, after 2001, survived entirely through foreign aid, with subsidies still accounting for some 75% of public spendingMost of them come from the United States In the area of ​​security, Washington included 95 percent of donors contribute.

It will be a long time before Afghanistan is wholly or even mostly self-financed. But the year 1992 reminds us of what can happen when aid is cut abruptly. Najibullah’s Soviet-sponsored regime lasted several years after Soviet troops left the country; that is Fund withdrawal that proved deadly, knocked out the regime and sparked a catastrophic civil war.

The withdrawal could in fact free Biden’s hand to promote Afghan peace more aggressively and creatively through regional policy, if he was wise enough to seize the opportunity. Responsible American influence – to shape a better outcome that Afghanistan seems to accept at the moment – will require state ingenuity, but it must be done. In addition, the United States can let the country split into many warring sides again. Or it could see the Taliban gradually regain power, removing two uneven but hopeful decades for the Afghan people and making Afghanistan once again an inviting place for extremists with greed. global expectations. Then, September 11 will mark two historic tragedies instead of one.



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