The two documents characterize the last two parts of the expected peace requirements in a judiciously different way. The third stage of the U.S. Taliban peace agreement calls for the Taliban to begin negotiations with the Afghan government once the first commitments have been fully guaranteed. Conversely, the third stage of the joint declaration between the United States and Afghanistan provides that there will be “a political solution arising from intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations between the Taliban and an inclusive negotiating team of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.” “The fact that the agreement is a strictly bilateral agreement between the U.S. government and the Taliban is worrying and casts the specter of different interpretations of what has been agreed, as we already see on the issue of prisoners,” Negroponte said. “This could lead to disputes between the U.S. government and the Afghan government, which would lead the U.S. government to punish them for what the U.S. government considers to be a breach of the terms it has negotiated with little or no Afghan buy-in.” Although the Taliban denied responsibility for the May 12 attacks, President Ghani blamed them and ordered Afghan forces to move away from the “active defense position” they had been in since the signing of the agreement between the United States and the Taliban for offensive attacks against Taliban fighters. In response, the Taliban warned that they would intensify their attacks against Afghan security forces. On 18 May, seven people were killed and 40 wounded in a Taliban attack on an Afghan intelligence post in the eastern province of Ghazni.
A final peace agreement and the possible withdrawal of U.S. forces remain important priorities. The United States has deployed combat troops to Afghanistan for nearly two decades and has urgent interests in Afghanistan and abroad – including the fight and recovery of COVID-19 and competition from major powers like Russia and China. But the Americans must be aware that peace negotiations are likely to be long and difficult. As tempting as it is to withdraw U.S. forces without agreement, it would be a mistake, especially if it is the Taliban`s fault. Withdrawing the United States from Afghanistan without a peace agreement would significantly increase the level of violence in Afghanistan, risk a growing regional war, provoke a humanitarian crisis, allow an Islamist extremist group to invade Kabul, and raise serious questions among allies about the reliability of the United States. Another possibility is that the Taliban may be the main cause of the break-in talks, either because Taliban leaders refuse to enter into negotiations or because they make unacceptable demands on the United States and the Afghan government.
The Taliban have already questioned many issues, such as the legitimacy of the current Afghan government and the exchange of prisoners. The Afghan government did not participate in the February 2020 agreement because the Taliban deemed the Ghani government illegitimate and refused to negotiate with its representatives. Taliban leaders also left talks with the Afghan government in April 2020 after a lack of agreement on prisoner exchanges. Hundreds of miles from Afghanistan`s battlefields, in a glittering banquet hall at a five-star hotel in Qatar, the United States and the Taliban have signed a pioneering agreement that paves the way for U.S. troops to withdraw from the impoverished and war-torn country. The members of the Security Council unanimously support UNAMA in general and are committed to promoting the peace process in Afghanistan. All members of the Security Council seem to share the hope that the agreement between the United States and the Taliban will facilitate progress towards intra-Afghanistan negotiations.