Tension over America’s moonshot’ peace plan for Afghanistan

Tension over America's moonshot' peace plan for Afghanistan
Boys play in front of a mural of Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy, and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the leader of the Taliban delegation. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: Critics question if it’s a “quick fix”; US President Joe Biden’s team calls it a “moonshot”, and millions of Afghans wonder if it is the blueprint to end an endless war, or just make it worse.

An apparent draft of a new peace agreement from the US peace envoy in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad’s office has been leaked after doing the rounds in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul.

The eight tightly typed pages with a leaked three-page letter from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have kicked up a political storm over the past 48 hours.

In his letter, Mr Blinken wrote that the United States did “not intend to dictate terms” to the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, only enable both sides to “move urgently” towards peace.

But Amrullah Saleh, the Afghan Vice-President, fired straight back, saying Afghanistan would “never accept a bossy and imposed peace”.

Mr Saleh said: “They can make decisions on their troops, not the people of Afghanistan.”

Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told that they were “still studying” the draft agreement. But he also stressed that they expect the US to meet the terms of the deal they signed in 2020. In other words, pull out the remaining 10,000 US-led Nato soldiers by 1 May, or else.

A moonshot is the kind of imagining which soars beyond “blue sky” brainstorming. It is the biggest of ideas to solve the very biggest of problems. In Afghanistan, it’s nothing less than life and death: how, after twenty years, to withdraw without precipitating a spiral into greater violence.

“Dignified” is another new buzzword in this dreadful war in Afghanistan: a dignified US departure; a dignified peace for Afghans.

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