Biden admin presents draft peace pact for warring Afghan sides

New Delhi: A draft peace agreement proposed by the US to “jump-start” the peace talks in Afghanistan envisages the formation of a transitional government with the Taliban and includes provisions to prevent terror-related activities on Afghan soil.

The draft “Afghanistan Peace Agreement” is the second key document related to the Biden administration’s efforts to push the peace process in Afghanistan that has leaked in recent days, following US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s letter to President Ashraf Ghani on the next steps envisaged by Washington.

The draft agreement includes three elements – guiding principles for a new constitution and a new state structure; terms for a transitional government involving the Taliban; and terms for a permanent ceasefire. It includes “options for power-sharing” to facilitate a settlement.

Blinken’s letter to Ghani included four elements – asking the UN to convene a meeting of India, Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran and the US to discuss a unified approach on Afghanistan, asking Turkey to convene a meeting of the Afghan side and the Taliban, getting the Afghan side and the Taliban to agree on ways to speed up discussions on a settlement, and encouraging Afghan leaders to consider a “new, inclusive government”.

There was no official word from the Indian side, but people familiar with developments said New Delhi will stick to its position on backing an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process. India wants any eventual outcome to ensure that Afghan soil isn’t used for terror activities, the people said.

The US proposal states that a “transitional peace government of Afghanistan” will be formed once the peace agreement is signed and this formation will exist until it “transfers power to a permanent government following the adoption of a new constitution and national elections”.

Sameer Patil, fellow for international security studies at Gateway House, said, “It is a fraught process, but it is also the best possible solution in the available circumstances. There is no real possibility of taking weapons away from the Taliban, and one can look at buying their loyalty to bring them into the mainstream. Variations of this solution have been paraded by other US administrations, but there really is no other solution without economic development,” Patil said. (Hindustan Times)

Image courtesy of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged Afghan leaders to consider a ‘new, inclusive government’.

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