Due to the Corona pandemic, the Afghan peace process is in a stalemate. It is not the first time that the Afghan peace process is endangered; indeed, Obama’s administration to Trump’s administration has tried to take the initiative on the peace process but failed. As it is the trump’s slogan “America First” and his promise to withdraw all the forces from the Afganistan till 2021. In that regard, Trump’s administration appointed a special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to negotiate directly with the Taliban. After many debates and discussions, a conclusion was drawn that the Afghan government would release 5000 prisoners of the Taliban’s militant group till 10 March and Within the first 135 days of the deal, the US will reduce its forces in Afghanistan to 8,600, with allies also drawing down their forces proportionately.
Taliban has swiftly attacked the Afghan security forces and killed many soldiers, although, Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afganistan, has requested to Taliban to avoid such activities in respect of Ramadan. The Taliban has turned down his request and called him a puppet of foreign agencies. Taliban accused the US of not upholding its side of the deal to release 5000 Taliban personnel in Afghan prisons. The Taliban consider that Ashraf Ghani is dictated by foreign policies, that is the reason why the Taliban has not directly involved with the Afghan government in the negotiations of the peace process.
At first, the Afghan government has rejected the peace process conditions by saying that the Taliban is demanding 15 prisoners who were involved in severe attacks, and they are masterminds of various attacks on the security forces to subvert the government’s writ. The Afghan government fears that these prisoners may become a part of the resistance against them. The Afghan government is currently fighting with the Corona pandemic and due to the poor health system, the government fears that these prisoners may attack health facilities and cause further problems for the government. The Taliban scrambled it by replying that the government of Afganistan has no intention to uphold the peace agreement, that is why they are not releasing the prisoners. The spokesperson of the Taliban tweeted that Coronavirus may affect the lives of prisoners.
It seems that the peace process may be stuck, as the American government is busy combating with coronavirus, and all their attention is towards saving their economy and lives of the people.
No one can predict the nature of change in Afghanistan after the peace process, but the delay in it would be beneficial for both the Indian government and the Afghanistan government. India has invested more than $2 billion on different projects in Afghanistan, and many Afghan citizens study and live in India for their livelihoods.
India also uses Afghanistan to finance terror activities in Pakistan, so that it may weaken Pakistan both internally and externally. There is also a problem with the flow of rivers between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as India supports the Afganistan to make barrages and dams on the former’s river so that the water flow towards Pakistan will be halted.
As the relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan remained pathetic from day one, as it was Afghanistan who cast an opposite vote to the existence of Pakistan, but the relationship between Pakistan and the Taliban is robust. It was Pakistan that recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan. India has concerns that if Taliban comes in power, then, it will become a Pro-Pakistan state, and India could not fulfill its dirty aims to destabilize the peace in Pakistan, and India also fears that it may be possible that Taliban intrude into the Kashmir problem and favor the struggle of “Kashmiri’s self-determination”.
There is another reason that India is reluctant to take part in the peace process, as it wants to engage the Pakistan army of both the east and west fronts. Pakistan currently employed around 200,000 soldiers of its western border to sustain the peace on the Durand line. It is also a possibility that after the peace process, China will spread its BRI initiative in Afghanistan, which will bring economic prosperity both in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Russian has changed its attitude towards the Taliban, as a few months ago, Russia showed its interest in the peace process of Afghanistan that may be a ploy to undermine the American hegemony in this region. There are trillions of dollar worth materials are hidden in the land of Afganistan that may attract the investors worldwide.