The signing of a landmark US-Taliban peace deal after 18 years of conflict is a potential watershed moment in the relations between Afghanistan and the United States which could have a significant impact on the future of the region. Einat Elazari from Wikistrat sat down with Professor Marvin G. Weinbaum, director of Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Dr. Hussain Nadim CEO of Nerve Analytics and Dr. Bibhu Routray, director of the India-based think tank Mantraya to discuss the implications of the deal for its major political stakeholders.
The Taliban has put themselves in a commanding position: The agreement provides a clear power-sharing arrangement between the civilian government and the Taliban. However, because the Taliban ejects the concept of democracy, it will be able to govern without consent, giving it a strategic advantage.
The Taliban’s worldview is unlikely to have changed: The deal does not challenge the Taliban’s well-known worldview, particularly on women’s rights and democracy and provides no guarantees if they choose to subsequently undermine the agreement.
Pakistan is using a high-risk strategy in these negotiations: Having supported a political settlement for the last 19 years, the danger for Pakistan is that if the deal fails, Pakistan may not only receive much of the blame, but Taliban victories may exacerbate Pakistan’s own internal problems with militia groups.
Violence must become intelligent: While the deal implicitly accepts a degree of violence from the Taliban in order to gain political leverage, the Taliban must now consolidate the numerous factions under its control in order to create a coherent strategy.
India must adapt its foreign policy: Indirectly, India has been excluded from the security framework of the region as it is not considered a US ally per se. In light of this, India must begin to accept the Taliban as a political reality, lest it jeopardizes its own national security.