U.S. Ambassador for Peace Zalmay Khalilzad (left) and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group`s supreme political leader, shake hands after signing a peace agreement between the Taliban and U.S. officials in Doha on February 29, 2020. | Photo credit: AP The agreement between the United States and the Taliban is, at best, a statement of good intentions. In a final analysis, the Taliban do not believe they are compromising their ultimate goal of making Afghanistan an Islamic emirate. But it may be useful to make tactical compromises. Despite numerous ceasefire talks, the Taliban will continue to work to expand the area they control. The Haqqani network will strengthen its influence in eastern and southern Afghanistan. The country could well be divided along ethnic and sectarian lines, as was the case before, with the Pashtun Taliban on the one hand and Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Baloch and Hazara Shiites on the other. Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban delegation, signs an agreement with Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan, at a signing ceremony between members of the Afghan Taliban and the United States on February 29, 2020 in Doha, Qatar.
– REUTERS A recent issue of Jaish-e-Mohammed Medina`s publication, Medina, stressed that the very favorable agreement between the United States and the Taliban was a great “victory” for Taliban jihad against the United States. The Jaish boasted that victory was “just as the jihadists were victorious against the former superpower, the Soviet Union.” It is interesting to note that the Jaish, which was recently behind the Pathankot and Pulwama attacks, openly boasts about it. Jaish eventually crystallized as the ISI`s main instrument for its jihad against India, after Lashkar-e-Taiba was sidelined and its leader, Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, was found “guilty” of money laundering. This was done only to convince the International Financial Action Task Force not to impose sanctions on Pakistan. The Taliban`s decision to end the three-day ceasefire during the time of Id-ul-Adha is a relief to Afghans who, despite a peace agreement between the insurgents and the United States, have experienced unwavering violence. This is the third official respite since the war began in 2001. In June 2018 and May of this year, the Taliban briefly ended hostilities at the end of the holy month of Ramzan. On both occasions, she refused to extend the ceasefire and returned to war as soon as the festivities were over. This time, however, there are high hopes that the ceasefire can be extended as Kabul and the insurgents prepare to begin the intra-Afghan talks promised in the U.S.-U.S.
agreement. According to the pact, talks were scheduled to begin in March. However, the two sides could not reach an agreement on the prisoner exchange agreed by the United States with the Taliban. The insurgents lamented that the government was not complying with the terms of the agreement, while Ashraf Ghani administration officials deemed the Taliban`s claims unacceptable. Finally, President Ghani decided to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, after which the Taliban announced a ceasefire.