DOHA PACT

Doha pact

 India has attended the signing of Doha pact to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. The pact is signed between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (not recognized by the United States as a state), known as the Taliban and the United States.

Key elements

 Troops Withdrawal

 The United States and NATO group will bring down the number of troops stationed in Afghanistan in a gradual manner. All troops, as well as non-diplomatic civil personnel, will be brought out within 14 months.

 Taliban Commitment

 It will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies. The pact is silent on other terrorist groups such as anti-India groups Lashkar-e-Toiba or Jaishe-Mohammed.

3. Sanctions Removal

United Nations (UN) sanctions and US sanctions would be removed soon.

4. Prisoner Release

 US-Taliba agreement and the joint declaration differ in this aspect. It is not clear whether the present Afghani government is on board with the prisoners’ release. Whil there are no numbers or deadlines in the joint declaration, the US-Taliban pact mentions about the release of the prisoners by both sides.

5. Ceasefire

An actual ceasefire will come with the completion of an Afghan political agreement.

Concerns

 The pact is likely to raise the influence of the Taliban, Pakistan Army, and the ISI in the politics of Afghanistan. Present moderate Afghani government has been completely side-lined during the talks. Future for the people of Afghanistan is uncertain and will depend on the Taliban’s commitment to the pact. The deal can give an opportunity to radical Islamist groups to revive themselves.

India and Taliban 

The relations of India and the Taliban have been shaped by unfavourable incidents such as plane-hijacking, terror attacks links, etc. The Taliban perceives India as a hostile country as India had supported the anti-Taliban force Northern Alliance in the 1990s. India has always backed the official Afghan government and supported in building infrastructure projects and other areas. India never gave diplomatic and official recognition to the Taliban when it was in power during 1996-2001. But in recent years, India has been in touch with all stakeholders as US-Taliban negotiations began.

Way forward

 The deal is likely to cut India out of the region’s security architecture. Pakistan-backed terror group operating in Afghanistan are likely to pose more threats to India. India must prepare for prolonged instability in Afghanistan as Afghanistan’s moderate political order will be weaker.

Source- The Hindu and Indian Express