Americans and the Taliban said they were negotiating a temporary break in air strikes and drone raids. Main reason for that proposal is the resumption of long-lasting peace talks.
Waiting for Talibans’ first move
Stopping the air strikes is one of Joe Biden’s highest priorities in Afghanistan. The US administration has declared that it can accept further compromises if the Taliban will limit their attacks on civilians. Americans see these steps as a way to a potential success of the high-level negotiations that will take place in Istanbul this month. However, they emphasize that they wait for the Talibans’ first move.
At the same time, the final decision on the full withdrawal of US forces has not yet been made. Under a US-only deal with the Taliban, Americans should withdraw their troops by May 1st, 2021.
First of all, less violence
This is a date that Joe Biden “inherited” from his predecessor – Donald Trump. But there is general agreement that the current American president will not try to meet this deadline. However, US officials say the withdrawal from Afghanistan will not take much longer. It is also because Joe Biden is under enormous pressure from his own party.
The Biden administration is fully aware that peace negotiations and the containment of violence are essential for Americans to leave Afghanistan. The greatest concerns lie with the Afghan government and the army. Both long have been under the strict protection of the US.
Also Afghan citizens predict that the absence of American troops will result in an escalation of Taliban cruelty. They live in fear of what the future holds. In order to prevent further violence from happening it is necessary to develop such terms of agreement that will be accepted by both sides of the long-term conflict. In turn, only by reducing violence on both American and Taliban sides can lead to the Afghan government engaging in dialogue as well.
Cover photo: American and Canadian soldiers retire their colors at the end of the day at Kandahar, Afghanistan. Photo: CMSGT Andrew Stanley, USAF / The U.S. National Archives.
Anna Słania – national and international security expert and journalist. Interested in the issues of contemporary armed conflicts, terrorism and humanitarianism in international relations. Works in the field of peace journalism. Member of the Salam Lab team.