AN ASSESSMENT OF PEACE NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND THE TALIBAN INSURGENT GROUP, 2001-2018
Shinwari, Ahmad Jawid
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This paper examines peace negotiations between the United States government and the Afghan Taliban insurgent group from 2001 to 2018. Although the U.S. government has attempted several times in the last 17 years to hold direct peace talks with the Afghan Taliban leaders to end the war in Afghanistan, no significant breakthroughs have been made. Every attempt to negotiate a political settlement has fallen apart. Different studies and reports largely consider the failures due to the Taliban’s lack of autonomy and authority in furthering the peace talks as well as Pakistan’s overwhelming influence on the insurgent group. This paper has used qualitative research analysis to examine how Pakistan’s security agencies have prevented the U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations from producing a tangible outcome and have caused the talks to fall apart when Pakistan was kept out of the negotiations and its strategic interests in Afghanistan were overlooked. This research confirms that the U.S. government focused excessively on negotiating directly with the Taliban leadership, who appeared to lack the authority and autonomy to strike a peace deal with the U.S. It also asserts that Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies maintain a significant amount of influence over the Taliban leadership and the insurgent group in general. A better understanding of the reasons for failures and shortcomings in the peace talks with the Taliban would contribute to the existing literature and help inform future peace negotiations with insurgent groups.