By Mohammad Mazhari

Afghanistan conflict: neighbors’ reading!  

July 13, 2021 - 16:39

Over the past few weeks, the Taliban have succeeded to take control of large parts of Afghanistan, including important provinces and territories in the country’s west.

Half of Afghanistan's 370 districts have so far fallen into the hands of the Taliban. 
There is no clear vision of what is awaiting Afghanistan. But the Taliban's continuous advances show their ability to take control of the remaining parts. 
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani met Joe Biden at the Oval Office on June 25 to remind the Americans of their promises to support the Afghan government.
However, Ghani’s pleas fell on deaf ears. He returned home empty-handed. The Biden administration is firm to fully exit American troops from the war-ravaged country. Reportedly, the U.S. plans to keep only a small group of its troops in the country to protect its diplomatic compound in Kabul.
Speaking to reporters on July 8, Biden said it is “the responsibility of Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”
The prospects in Afghanistan may seem bleak.  Based on the realities on the ground the Taliban will take the helm in the Central Asian country in the not-too-distant future.
The Americans held several rounds of secret talks with the Taliban in Doha without the presence of the Afghan government, something that angered the Afghan government.
The point is that the Taliban's advances in various parts of Afghanistan have speeded up concurrent with the United States’ withdrawal from the country. It can be inferred that the Taliban have received a green light from the American side in the Doha talks.
Afghanistan is now in a state of confusion. Some media outlets say the Taliban is practicing violence, while others try to promote the idea of handing over the land to the Taliban voluntarily.
Reportedly, the Taliban have not resorted to violent acts against the people, especially against the Hazaras, Shias and Tajiks. They are just fighting against government forces.
According to reports by Afghan media, the Taliban are accommodating all the ethnic groups in their organization as they have eyes on the upcoming administration in Kabul. 
Given their lightning advances across Afghanistan, some pundits predict the Afghan government will be overthrown in less than a month.
According to local Afghan officials, the Taliban are advancing in rural areas and near Kabul. They now hold almost twice as much of Afghanistan as they did just two months ago, raising fresh doubts about whether the Afghan government can survive now that 90 percent of U.S. and NATO forces have left the country.
What may worry regional countries most, especially Afghan neighbors, is that American weapons have fallen into the hands of unknown militant groups during the Americans’ two-decades of presence in Afghanistan. Among the groups that have gained access to such advanced arms is ISIS, which sees no limit for its savagery.
But if you ask whether these advanced weapons can pose a threat to Afghanistan's neighbors in the future, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran, I would say no, because, the United States, despite having advanced weapons, failed to destabilize Iran's borders. The Islamic Republic has been successful in protecting and defending its national interests.
Some analysts and military experts say the United States let extremist militant groups gain access to such advanced weaponry in order to push Afghanistan toward more insecurity and chaos. They say the U.S. will feel happy to see China, Russia and Iran feel the brunt of insecurity and instability in Afghanistan.
Regional countries, Afghan officials, analysts had called for a responsible pullout of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. 
An unnamed Afghan government official has said the U.S. withdrawal was "irresponsible."
"It is the most irresponsible, selfish thing the U.S. could do to its Afghan partners," the official told the DPA news agency. "They could have ended this in a responsible way, with a little more patience."

However, it must not be forgotten that the U.S. is one of the main culprits for decades-long insecurity in Afghanistan. 
It is just enough to remember how the U.S. fanned the flames of religious extremism during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s.


Iran working hard to broker peace in Afghanistan 
Many in Iran ask about Tehran’s stance towards what is going on in Afghanistan. Some people warn about the Taliban’s presence close to Iranian borders.
Like it or lump it, the Taliban is advancing at a lightning speed across Afghanistan. They now claim that they control 80 percent of Afghanistan.
The U.S. and its allies are fleeing Afghanistan in disgrace after two decades. Before them, the Soviets left in disgrace. 
It is also clear to all that Ghani's government is unable to resist the Taliban’s attacks for a long time given its reliance on foreign military aid.
In fact, inter-Afghan talks are the only viable solution for more than four decades of war and bloodshed in Afghanistan.
Negotiation is essentially important for Afghanistan. If the warring sides show flexibility, they can ensure the national security and interests of the Afghan people, alleviate the decades-long suffering of their people and bring the region closer to stability. 
It is for this reason that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the delegates from the Afghan government and the Taliban in Tehran on July 8 that “courage in peace is more important than courage in war, because peace needs sacrifice and forgiveness, needs ignoring one's maximal demands, and paying attention to the other side's demands.”
On July 7, the first day that high-ranking representatives from the Taliban and the Afghan government met in Tehran, Zarif showed Iran’s longing for peace in Afghanistan by writing that “Iran stands with our Afghan brethren.”
Iran is now playing a constructive role. Iran’s move in hosting intra-Afghan talks has so far been welcomed by Pakistan and India, two major shareholders in Afghanistan. 
The fact that Iran has succeeded to host the warring sides is a milestone. It is a great honor in the history of Iranian diplomacy.
Other shareholders in the stability of Afghanistan can also play positive roles.  A new round of civil war in Afghanistan is not in anyone's interest.
 

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