The inevitable has happened. The mighty America is on way out in Afghanistan. After 17 years of military occupation during which the United States spent trillions of dollars to subjugate Afghans, America had finally to surrender before the Taliban, who it had dislodged from power in 2001 in the aftermath of disastrous 9/11 attacks in New York. After initial defeat at the hands of America-led NATO forces, it took Taliban almost two years to regroup and reorder its cadres to fight the foreign forces on its land. Having earlier defeated the equally might power the USSR, Afghans were confident that they were capable enough to drive out the foreign forces from its land. And the big news came on Saturday that America has reached upon an agreement with Taliban under which it would withdraw from Afghanistan. The peace deal has been agreed a day after the Afghan insurgents signaled their commitment to talks by naming one of their most senior commanders—Mullah Abdul Gani Baradar, as chief negotiator. Baradar was a founding member of the Taliban movement and close aide to the first Taliban leader and Ameer, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Once the Taliban’s military chief, he is hugely respected in the insurgent movement, but has also long sought a negotiated end to the war. He had reached out unsuccessfully to the US and the Afghan government in the past, and in 2010 he was arrested by Pakistani forces. He was released on October 24, last year first meeting between American peace negotiator Zalmay Khalid and his Taliban counterparts. He is now head the Taliban’s office in Qatar, the de facto embassy and international headquarters for the militant group, and site of talks with the US representatives. The Saturday peace deal with Zalmay Khalid, once the US ambassador in Kabul and now an official negotiator of President Donald Trump, is deemed as a major stride towards end of war in Afghanistan. After several days of talks, the two sides had finalised some clauses to be included in a draft peace deal. The agreement included apparent concessions from both sides, including a commitment that foreign forces would be scheduled to withdraw 18 months after a deal was signed. The departure of western troops is a core Taliban demand. In return the insurgents, who now threaten two-thirds of the country, would commit to keeping international terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and Isis, off Afghan soil or from using it to launch attacks abroad, one of Washington’s top priorities.
The defeat in Afghanistan has been starring at American face for several years as the Taliban has captured more than 60 percent area of the country. The American-sponsored Ashraf Gani-led government has been squeezed to the four walls of Kabul and the US was desperate to find a safe way out of Afghanistan. Donald Trump initially tried to terrorize and pressurize Pakistan through intimidating measures to fights his war in Afghanistan, and in the process stopped all the military aid the country was supposed to get as its share for being a partner in America’s war on terrorism. Trump directly accused Pakistan of harbouring and sponsoring the Taliban terrorists. Trump issued threat and warnings to Pakistan with the intention that like in the past it would succumb to such pressure. But as it saw Taliban capturing more and more areas, Trump stopped all military and economic aid to Pakistan to make Islamabad more pliable. America even threatened Pakistan of military action if it did not comply with the US orders. But the rise of Imran Khan to power saw a new and confident Pakistan refusing to toe the American line saying that Pakistan would no more be a ‘hired gun”. The U-Turn by Donald Trump is a huge indicator that no country, howsoever powerful it could be is invincible. It needs the courage of saying no to get it on knees.