Going forward, the main objectives of the United States should be to reach political consensus within Afghanistan, to support peace negotiations in Afghanistan with the help of regional and international partners, and to strengthen the Afghan security forces so that they can deal with threats with limited external participation. To advance these goals, U.S. policymakers should take the following steps immediately: Another possibility is that the Taliban are the main reason for the failure of the talks, either because the Taliban leadership refuses to enter into negotiations or because it makes demands that are unacceptable to the U.S. and the Afghan government. The Taliban have already clashed with 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 felt that the Ghani government was illegitimate and they refused to negotiate with their representatives. Taliban leaders also left talks with the Afghan government in April 2020, after failing to reach an agreement on the prisoner exchange. Despite such problems, a peace deal preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a hotbed of retreat to international terrorism would allow the United States to withdraw its armed forces and reduce its security and development assistance, which exceeded $800 billion between 2001 and 2019. A deal is particularly desirable, as the US is focusing on competing with China and Russia and the US is facing budgetary pressure caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The statement on the group`s propaganda page addressed Biden and future U.S. governments to say that the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan would be in the interest of “our peoples and our nations.” The group also expressed its commitment to the agreement. The annexes to the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, which have never been published, should set limits on fighting.
According to a well-placed source, the Taliban have been allowed to continue their operations in rural areas, but not in major cities. The agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban promised that “up to 5,000” Taliban prisoners would be released by the Afghan government before negotiations, in exchange for 1,000 members of the security forces held by the militants. . . .