18-Years Of Conflict – Will it Ever End?

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According to the peace agreement in the initial 135 days US will withdraw and reduce the physically present forces along with the forces of allied powers stationed there, proportionately.

Allowing a friendly gesture, this agreement is not only based on troop withdrawal but on prisoner swap as well. 5,000 Taliban prisoners & 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners will be set free on 10 March when the peace talks are scheduled to be held.

Furthermore, this agreement will hold an effective wave of reconciliation which will eventually lead to end the longstanding sanctions against the previously alleged “Homeland of Terrorism” which now, by the virtue of mutual understanding, shall revert back to pre-1979 Afghanistan when it had democratic regime of President Mohammad Daud Khan.

Pathway for Peace Talks

Since 2011, Qatar has been holding Taliban representatives for peace talks which had been a road leading nowhere getting through 2013 talks with no such results.

Taliban Office was set up in 2013 and got close the same year. Year 2018 ended with a voice of reconciliation from US officials to call for another round of “peace talks” which was refused by the hard-line Islamist Afghan authorities.

Following failed nine rounds of continuous wall breaking, both sides came close by a degree to negotiate and halt the longstanding hard-core stance.

Background to Afghanistan-US relations

Pakistan’s decision to join the war on terror proved fruitful in its relations with the major power but did not last long. Skepticism regarding Pakistan involvement with Al Qaeda always defined the relations between the two states. Secretary of State Robert O. Blake Jr. highlighted the contours of the Obama administration’s South Asia policy in a speech at John Hopkins University in 2009. He stated that the administration particularly focused on India as a strategic partner, while Pakistan as a safe haven of terrorism. He stated that Pakistan faced many internal challenges which prevent the country from eradicating terrorism as a whole, while with India, USA shared many convergent interests. In 2011, the Obama Administration

ordered an intervention in Pakistan’s territory to carry out Operation Neptune Spear which

targeted Al Qaeda leader, Bin Laden. He was hiding in Pakistan and US forces killed him

without consulting or notifying Pakistan, which denied the claims of having knowledge of his existence in Pakistani territory.

Pakistan’s decision to join the war on terror proved fruitful in its relations with the major power but did not last long. Scepticism regarding Pakistan involvement with Al Qaeda always defined the relations between the two states. Secretary of State Robert O. Blake Jr. highlighted the contours of the Obama administration’s South Asia policy in a speech at John Hopkins University in 2009. He stated that the administration particularly focused on India as a strategic partner, while Pakistan as a safe haven of terrorism. He stated that Pakistan faced many internal challenges which prevent the country from eradicating terrorism as a whole, while with India, USA shared many convergent interests. In 2011, the Obama Administration ordered an intervention in Pakistan’s territory to carry out Operation Neptune Spear which targeted Al Qaeda leader, Bin Laden. He was hiding in Pakistan and US forces killed him without consulting or notifying Pakistan, which denied the claims of having knowledge of his existence in Pakistani territory.

Evidently, the most drastic event of 21st century happened on the morning of 11 September, 2001 when hijackers grabbed control over four passenger jets. 2 of the aircrafts were deliberately flown into the famous “Twin Towers” of World Trade Center in New York while the third one flew straight into the Pentagon, Virginia.

USA’ twin towers – symbol of power & Pentagon – symbol of strength and security, were targeted that sparked a rage of explanation, by all means.

President George W Bush expressed his emotions by labelling this as an evil act and a despicable act of terror. He declared a start of war mentioning “different kind of enemy” meaning non-state entities (Terrorists).

Consequently, attacks were launched on Afghanistan by the western coalition forces along with the anti-Taliban Afghan north alliance.

This imposed a great effect on South Asian region being a soil of Afghanistan – a buffer state. Demand of Osama-bin-Laden and satellite traces of him being in Pakistan lead to tensions.

U.S invasion in Afghanistan after 9/11was a result of all the provoking activities and Jihadi movements directed against U.S claiming to protect fundamental religious ideas. This not only pulled out coercive motives against US but threatened the regional security balance. Since then the role of Afghanistan in south Asian Geo-politics has become noteworthy both regionally and internationally.

Regional complex since then has been of great concern for Pakistan prominently, regionally due to its Global War on Terror participation actively. US’ South Asian policy has been India-centric mostly apart from mutual gains from War against Terror during the time period of 9/11 sensitivities.

This benchmark event of 21st century initiated a new wave of Western imposed ideology i.e., Islamophobia. Islamic states of world must acknowledge all the efforts done in order to eradicate terrorism form the soil of South Asian region in terms of anti-terrorist operations like Zarb-e-Azb, joint military operation of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.

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