Afghanistan was heading for a bleak future as violence returned to the war-ravaged and the peace process was in jeopardy. The Afghan Taliban signed a landmark deal with the United States to usher a new era of peace but the agreement has been on tenterhooks ever since.
The Afghan Taliban has expressed commitment to the deal with the US. The leader of the Afghan Taliban Haibatullah Akhunzada released a rare message ahead of Eid, calling on Washington not to waste the opportunity to end the war.
After months of negotiations and years of effort, the US and Taliban eventually reached an agreement to end the war and bring peace. The US agreed to withdraw all troops by next year in return for security guarantees. This was followed by a long, arduous process and there have been many spoilers.
The agreement envisaged talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban which have not yet commenced. It hit a roadblock early on with disagreement over a prisoner swap. Afghan President Karzai was faced with his political crisis after a stalemate in the last elections. He signed a power-sharing with his rival this week to move the peace process forward.
Violence has returned to the country and Afghan forces have been ordered to push for an offensive against the Taliban. A brazen attack at a maternity hospital in Kabul last week killed dozens including babies, while a blast at a funeral on the same day killed 32 people in the volatile Nangarhar province.
It is argued that the Taliban have been emboldened by the peace deal as they could return to power after the US leaves. This has been the greatest concern for the Afghan government that hardline punishments and suppression might return. The peace process remains difficult and many obstacles need to be overcome.
India is a big spoiler in the Afghan peace process as it benefits Pakistan. The chief Taliban negotiator has reportedly said that India has always played a negative role always and supported traitors in Afghanistan. India has repeatedly used the Afghan soil to destabilise peace efforts in Afghanistan and has been investing in the country for its vested interests.
These interferences affect the peace process in the country and could see a new clash between the Afghan Taliban and India. Even the US has expressed concerns that India was creating impediments in the intra-Afghan talks and influencing Karzai from abiding by the agreement. India should create hurdles for Aghan peace efforts as peace in the region will benefit the entire region.