UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Kabul Process
Kabul Process is an inclusive peace process owned and led by Afghanistan. The peace process brings together international organizations to reach an international consensus on fighting terrorism and to draw broader support for the cause. The first meeting of Kabul Process was held in June 2017. The second meeting of Kabul Process commenced on the 28th Feb 2018. It saw the participation of representatives from 25 countries and three international organizations, the European Union (EU), the United Nations Organization (UN) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The meeting was held with the aim of discussing security and political issues in the country.
What would be done?
- Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, the current President of Afghanistan proposed a ceasefire and a release of prisoners as part of a range of options including new elections, involving the militants, and a constitutional review as part of a pact with the Taliban to end the conflict.
- He promised to recognize the Taliban as a political party.
- He called for confidence-building measures and asked Taliban to recognize the Kabul regime and the constitution.
- The Taliban was told to open an office in Kabul; passports and freedom of travel were offered to those involved in negotiations.
Over the years the U.S. had tried tactics including a troops surge, putting pressure on Pakistan to use its leverage with the Taliban and promoting secret talks. But nothing worked, and the Taliban has established a strong presence in almost two-thirds of Afghanistan and is constantly on the offensive. It has shown a capacity to strike at the most fortified positions in Kabul but knows it cannot capture the city as long as the Americans remain committed to the government’s security.
This time the difference is that the Afghan government has come up with a seven-point plan of engagement with the Taliban and invited the group for talks without preconditions: the previous formulation was that the Taliban should choose between war and peace. Mr. Ghani has not set any time limit for the Taliban to respond. He has said the views and proposals of the Taliban would be considered, thereby lobbing the ball into the Taliban’s court.
Is it a futile Process?
- The Taliban are now stronger than at any point since the Americans invaded Afghanistan
- The Taliban has control over more than 50 percent of the territory and have secured more regional support
- The Taliban fight a proxy war primarily to counter India’s presence in Afghanistan, to guard Pakistan’s supposed strategic depth, and to keep the Durand Line agenda off the table.
- The political backdrop has become more complex when both Iran and Russia are getting more involved in the game with a determination to counter the U.S. presence Afghanistan.
- Furthermore, the Taliban is not the only terrorist group threatening peace and security in Afghanistan. The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) branch has a foothold in the country now, trying to consolidate its position and broaden its power base.