GP Insights

GP Insights # 284, 7 March 2020

Afghanistan: Is the US- Taliban deal collapsing?
Sukanya Bali

What happened?
On 1 March, Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan objected the prisoner swap, which would lead to the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners against 1,000 Afghan security force captives, after the signing of the US and Taliban peace deal on 29 February, in Doha. Soon after the objection, a blast hit in Kost province of eastern Afghanistan, killing three and wounding 11 Afghans. The attack was claimed by the Taliban. 

Taliban responded, by resuming its offensive operation against Afghan security forces and refused from taking part in intra-Afghan talk until the Afghan government, agreed on prisoner's release. The US carried out the first air raid after the deal against the Taliban in Helmand in retaliation to 43 attacks on Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) checkpoint and army point, in Kunduz and Uruzgan province. Colonel Sonny Leggett on Wednesday called the air raid as a defensive strike against Taliban fighter attack. 

On 3 March, US President Donald Trump and Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, had their first direct discussion. Trump called the 35-minute long call, "a very good talk". Later, Trump stated the US Secretary Mike Pompeo would speak to Ashraf Ghani, "so the barrier against intra-Afghan dialogue gets removed". After two days, in a news conference, Pompeo said, "all sides should stop posturing and prepare for the intra-Afghan negotiation, including practical discussion about prisoner release". 

On 6 March, a ceremony marking the death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari, an ethnic Hazara leader, was attacked by ISIS leading to the death of 27 and left 29 wounded, in Kabul. 

What is the background?
The deal signed between the US and the Taliban focused on four main points,

First, a timeline of 14 months for the withdrawal of all the US and the NATO troops from Afghanistan. The draw out will limit the US armed force to 8,600 from 13,000 in the first 135 days. Second, an agenda for negotiating on a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing agreement between rival groups in Afghanistan. Third, to begin an intra-Afghan dialogue on 10 March. Also, the deal proposed the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 Afghan security force captives.  Fourth, the Taliban guarantee that Afghan soil will not be used as a launchpad against the US. 

The deal between the US and the Taliban was signed after several rounds of negotiations led by Zalmay Khalilzad, a US special envoy. The Afghan government was side-lined from the talks as the Taliban refused to engage with them and called them the 'puppet government'.  The deal failed to recognize the other extremist groups like ISIS into consideration while structuring the peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban. 

Additionally, on 5 March, Piotr Hofmanski the presiding judge of International Criminal Court, ICC authorized prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, to launch a full investigation in war crimes committed in Afghanistan by the US, Taliban, and Afghan government. Honfmanski said, 'Bensouda should proceed and not limit her investigation to preliminary finding as that would erroneously inhibit the prosecution truth-seeking function'. 

What does it mean? 
First, the resumption of violence between Taliban and Afghan forces indicates a crack in the deal within seven days of signing. It also shows Taliban's unwillingness to make any further concessions.  Second, Ashraf Ghani's objection over prisoner swap indicates the Afghan government's disregard towards the US-Taliban peace deal. On a similar line, the US cold responses over the objection show, that the US is unwilling to be part of internal Afghan issues again.  Third, other than the three major actors in Afghanistan, ISIS's recent attack may create further problems in the deal to prosper.  Fourth, the second most important aspect of the deal the intra- Afghan talks, may see difficulties in discussing women's rights, rights of minorities and governance in Afghanistan considering the Taliban's violent responses. 

December 2020 | GP Insights # 451
Brexit: The trade deal may not come through
November 2020 | GP Insights # 432
India and the US sign crucial defence agreements
October 2020 | GP Insights # 421
France: New bill to prevent Islamic Separatism
October 2020 | GP Insights # 420
The US: The First Presidential Debate
September 2020 | GP Insights # 419
South Asia: Finally, a SAARC meeting
September 2020 | GP Insights # 413
California: Wildfire continues to rage
September 2020 | GP Insights # 411
BREXIT: UK's new bill renews the tensions with the EU
August 2020 | GP Insights # 407
Japan: Shinzo Abe announces resignation
August 2020 | GP Insights # 403
Greenland: The ice sheet melts at a record rate
August 2020 | GP Insights # 402
Coup in Mali: Plunging further into chaos

August 2020 | GP Insights # 394
Vietnam: The second wave

July 2020 | GP Insights # 391
Global Nuclear Security progress has slowed
May 2020 | GP Insights # 346
Europe shows the way, but with a warning

April 2020 | GP Insights # 336
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | GP Insights # 332
The US accuses the WHO of being China-centric
April 2020 | GP Insights # 328
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | GP Insights # 325
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps
March 2020 | GP Insights # 311
US: $2.2 trillion to stimulate the economy
March 2020 | GP Insights # 304
CoronaVirus: The US-China blame game
March 2020 | GP Insights # 302
Afghanistan: 30 killed in two days

March 2020 | GP Insights # 299
China: Fall in numbers
March 2020 | GP Insights # 292
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban deal under stress
March 2020 | GP Insights # 287
Two Presidents in Afghanistan
March 2020 | GP Insights # 285
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan
March 2020 | GP Insights # 281
Coronavirus cases cross 100,000

March 2020 | GP Insights # 276
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | GP Insights # 272
Trump in India: Optics, Substance and Rhetoric
February 2020 | GP Insights # 269
US and Taliban sign the long-awaited peace deal

February 2020 | GP Insights # 268
Thailand: The Court dissolves the opposition party
February 2020 | GP Insights # 260
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed
February 2020 | GP Insights # 259
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | GP Insights # 258
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | GP Insights # 254
General Election: Ireland turns Left, after decades
February 2020 | GP Insights # 253
Coronavirus: Seven Weeks After

February 2020 | GP Insights # 252
Israel: Violence in the post-Trump deal
February 2020 | GP Insights # 248
The US Senate acquits Donald Trump

February 2020 | GP Insights # 246
Trump's Middle East plan gains mixed responses
February 2020 | GP Insights # 245
New Delhi: Shooting in an anti-CAA rally
February 2020 | GP Insights # 243
Afghanistan: Continuing Violence
February 2020 | GP Insights # 242
Finally, the BREXIT: The “UK Dream” comes true
February 2020 | GP Insights # 240
UK and EU on 5G and Huawei
February 2020 | GP Insights # 238
Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan
January 2020 | GP Insights # 237
Libya: Peace Summit in Berlin
January 2020 | GP Insights # 236
Lebanon: A new government but crisis is worsening
January 2020 | GP Insights # 232
Lebanon: A new cabinet assisted by the Hezbollah
January 2020 | GP Insights # 229
World Economic Forum: The 50th meeting at Davos
January 2020 | GP Insights # 225
Afghanistan: Taliban's Proposal to Reduce Violence
January 2020 | GP Insights # 222
Tehran: Protests follow the Airplane shooting
January 2020 | GP Insights # 219
Taiwan: DPP returns to power with a large mandate

January 2020 | GP Insights # 217
Russia: Putin's New Democratic experiment
January 2020 | GP Insights # 216
Myanmar welcomes Xi Jinping
January 2020 | GP Insights # 210
6G Technology: China is an Early Bird
December 2019 | GP Insights # 204
The US plan against Mexican Cartels
December 2019 | GP Insights # 202
Greta Thunberg is TIME's person of the year
December 2019 | GP Insights # 201
UK: Boris Johnson wins big, gets the BREXIT mandate
December 2019 | GP Insights # 200
ICJ: Suu Kyi defends the indefensible
December 2019 | GP Insights # 199
Spain: COP 25 begins in Madrid

December 2019 | GP Insights # 198
Iran: The protests continue
December 2019 | GP Insights # 197
NATO at 70: Brain Dead and Jaws Dropped
November 2019 | GP Insights # 196
London attacks: A reality check on radicalisation
November 2019 | GP Insights # 195
Iran protests: Thousands arrested

November 2019 | GP Insights # 193
Russia Releases Ukrainian Vessels
November 2019 | GP Insights # 191
Mass Protests in Iran

November 2019 | GP Insights # 189
Protest in Georgia over constitutional reform
November 2019 | GP Insights # 188
Sri Lanka: Return of the Rajapaksas
November 2019 | GP Insights # 187
Hong Kong: Violence reaches a new high

November 2019 | GP Insights # 185
Brazil: Leaders meet for the 11th BRICS Summit
November 2019 | GP Insights # 184
Bolivia: Political crisis over elections
November 2019 | GP Insights # 183
US-China Tariff Rollback: Yes, sorry no…  

November 2019 | GP Insights # 181
India refuses to sign the RCEP 
November 2019 | GP Insights # 178
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue
November 2019 | GP Insights # 177
ISIS after Baghdadi
November 2019 | GP Insights # 176
UK Elections: A delayed Brexit; divided Parliament
October 2019 | GP Insights # 173
Brazil’s mysterious oil spill 
October 2019 | GP Insights # 170
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | GP Insights # 168
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | GP Insights # 167
Turkey's Offensive in Syria

October 2019 | GP Insights # 161
UK: Boris Johnson announces a Brexit roadmap
October 2019 | GP Insights # 160
Iraq: The Protests Now
October 2019 | GP Insights # 158
China: Celebrating 70 years
September 2019 | GP Insights # 157
UK: Parliament uproar over Boris Johnson’s language
September 2019 | GP Insights # 156
US and Japan: A limited trade agreement
September 2019 | GP Insights # 154
The UN Climate Action Summit: No Action Plan yet
September 2019 | GP Insights # 151
Climate Change protests ahead of the UN Summit

September 2019 | GP Insights # 149
Afghanistan: Taliban’s deadly strikes
September 2019 | GP Insights # 148
Israel: No clear winners in the elections
September 2019 | GP Insights # 147
An Amazon in the East: The Forest Fires in Indonesia

September 2019 | GP Insights # 144
"Glory to Hong Kong": Protesters' New Anthem
September 2019 | GP Insights # 142
Suspension of the British Parliament
August 2019 | GP Insights # 140
Italy: Experiments with a new coalition
August 2019 | GP Insights # 139
Huawei vs Google: The Saga Continues

August 2019 | GP Insights # 136
G7 Summit: Cold responses and little outcomes
August 2019 | GP Insights # 133
Italy: Political turmoil as the PM resigns
August 2019 | GP Insights # 132
Brexit: No backing out on backstop deal
August 2019 | GP Insights # 130
Brazil: The fires in Amazon goes global
August 2019 | GP Insights # 128
Jammu and Kashmir: The UNSC meeting
August 2019 | GP Insights # 127
Israel: US Congresswomen's visit denied 

August 2019 | GP Insights # 121
North Korea: Cyber theft of  $ 2 billion
August 2019 | GP Insights # 120
Hong Kong: China issues a strong warning
August 2019 | GP Insights # 118
J&K: India revokes Kashmir’s special status
August 2019 | GP Insights # 116
US Withdraws from the INF Treaty
August 2019 | GP Insights # 115
The Netherlands ban Burqa

August 2019 | GP Insights # 113
Trump imposes new tariffs on China
July 2019 | GP Insights # 106
Pakistan Airspace Reopens after five months
July 2019 | GP Insights # 105
US excludes Turkey from the F-35 program
July 2019 | GP Insights # 103
US House blocks Trump's Saudi arms deal

July 2019 | GP Insights # 101
Myanmar: US-led  sanctions will not go far
July 2019 | GP Insights # 100
Iran to breach nuclear stockpile threshold
July 2019 | GP Insights # 96
Libya: Attack on Migration Centre kills 60
June 2019 | GP Insights # 93
G20 Summit 2019 in Japan: Early takeaways
June 2019 | GP Insights # 89
Hong Kong Protests: Expanding the Goals?
June 2019 | GP Insights # 87
Protests in Georgia

June 2019 | GP Insights # 85
Xi visits North Korea
June 2019 | GP Insights # 84
Hong Kong: The Protests Escalates Further
June 2019 | GP Insights # 82
Nigeria: The Triple Suicide Bombing
June 2019 | GP Insights # 78
Xi's Visit to North Korea
June 2019 | GP Insights # 75
Sudan: African Union suspends membership

June 2019 | GP Insights # 73
The Gulf of Oman: Attack on Oil tankers
June 2019 | GP Insights # 72
Sudan: The Military orders crackdown
June 2019 | GP Insights # 70
Japan and Iran: Abe’s Peace Mission
June 2019 | GP Insights # 69
India: Two Days, Two Neighbors
June 2019 | GP Insights # 67
India's New Priority: BIMSTEC, not SAARC?

June 2019 | GP Insights # 66
China's First Orbital Sea Launch
June 2019 | GP Insights # 65
China and Russia: Xi Jinping's Moscow Visit
June 2019 | GP Insights # 63
Hong Kong: China's Game Plan

June 2019 | GP Insights # 62
India, US and the S-400: Threat of Sanctions
June 2019 | GP Insights # 61
Sudan: Clampdown on Protestors
June 2019 | GP Insights # 59
Trump's UK Visit

May 2019 | GP Insights # 48
Indonesia: Post-election violence
May 2019 | GP Insights # 44
1500 American troops to the Middle East
May 2019 | GP Insights # 36
US-China Trade Talks

May 2019 | GP Insights # 34
Sri Lanka Attacks: Deepening fault lines
May 2019 | GP Insights # 33
The Huawei Controversy in the UK
November 2018 | GP Insights # 188
Sri Lanka: Return of the Rajapaksas
Click here for old Short Notes