16:55 GMT +320 July 2019
Listen Live
    In this July 24, 2016 file photo, a US military personal stands guard during a graduation ceremony for Afghan troops, in Lashkargah, capital of southern Helmand province, Afghanistan.

    Ex-Afghani Envoy: US Trying to Open 'Second Track Policy' in Afghanistan

    © AP Photo / Abdul Khaliq
    Opinion
    Get short URL
    201

    Nearly a year after President Donald Trump said the US is losing the Afghan war, US diplomats and commanders are in the process of holding covert direct talks with the Taliban, gambling on a bid to kick-start peace negotiations.

    These planned talks between the US and Taliban represent Talks represent the most serious diplomatic effort to end the Afghan war in five years. Sputnik spoke to Omar Samad, Former Afghani Ambassador to Canda and France, for more insight on the issue.

    Sputnik: How significant is this development?

    Omar Samad: It is definitely significant and it comes as part of a mini review of US policy that is about a year old now, that is taking place in Washington.

    I think the US administration is looking at the different options that exist, at this point; having gone through a whole year pushing a policy that I think is still implementable to some extent. What we’re seeing now is the opening of second track as part of this policy, whereby the US is trying to engage the Taliban into discussing issues that both sides would like to discuss.

    Sputnik: Despite this incentive from us Diplomats, many are worried that these talks could fold and Trump could run out of patience. On this subject, what problems could occur between US diplomats and senior Taliban members?

    Omar Samad: This is still very fresh and new. There are obviously risks involved as far as the next steps are concerned, we do not know exactly what an agenda will look like, whether all sides will agree on a specific agenda, in this case between the US and the Taliban, because the Taliban demand was to discuss the withdrawal of the US troops in a time period. They do not seem to be ready or willing to discuss anything beyond that that has to do with the Afghan government on a political settlement of the issue.

    So agenda is one issue, timing is another because there still is a war going on in Afghanistan; everyday people are being killed on all sides. As these talks get under way and evolve into further talks, we cannot ignore that fact that fighting continues and I expect fighting to continue for a period time as the fighting season ends by the end of the year.

    I think the second track of the US policy is still applicable, which means they will want to make sure that security in Afghanistan does not deteriorate, that the Taliban and other groups like Daesh, are not able to gain any more territory and that the Afghan cities, strategic highways, installations, institutions are more secured.

    That is the second issue that needs to be taken into account, the third I think is regional, and that’s to do with other stake holders in the region, who have each of their own views and interests relating to Afghanistan and the threat perceptions that exist as well as the opportunity that they see in trying to further their agenda.

    Sputnik:  As a former Afghani ambassador, what criticisms do you have of Trump’s approach to these talks?

    Omar Samad: I think a criticism that the Afghanistan people have is whether it’s US or other foreign policy towards Afghanistan is that it has to be longer term in perspective and has to take into account the local issues that are problematic but also the regional and strategic matters.

    It has to have a longer viewpoint to what the endgame is in Afghanistan, it is a win win for the key stakeholders, especially for those people in Afghanistan and the government who have to have legitimacy in Afghanistan.

    I think what we’ve seen over the past decade or more are short term, peace meal type policies and strategies that may have helped this situation for a very short period of time, but over time have not produced the kind of results that we are seeking; in terms of security, fighting terrorism, political stability and a better regional environment for all countries to feel safer and to engage in activities such as economic integration and transactions that helps everyone.

    We need to have a long term strategic view of what we want to achieve, as well as, shorter term policies that help us achieve those objectives.

    The views and opinions expressed by Omar Samad do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Related:

    US May Not Accept Taliban Demand That All Foreign Forces Leave – Analyst
    At Least 22 People Kidnapped by Taliban in Eastern Afghanistan – Reports
    US-Taliban Talks Aside, Afghanistan's Future 'Going To be Tough' in Near-Term
    US Delegation Meets Taliban Officials in Qatar for Afghan Peace Talks - Reports
    US Troops Unlikely to Leave Afghanistan Despite Negotiations with Taliban
    Tags:
    security, policy, talks, Taliban, Omar Samad, Afghanistan, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik