Taliban Sanctions & Doha Agreement – Did the Agreement allow for a Taliban takeover?
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Taliban Sanctions & Doha Agreement – Did the Agreement allow for a Taliban takeover?


Nearly twenty years after the first major American invasion in Afghanistan following the 9/11 terrorist attack, the Middle Eastern nation is now free of foreign troops.

It has been as much a cause for celebration as disappointment. Western citizens welcome back the soldiers that have returned alive whilst Afghanistan has gained back a certain independence from third party interference.

Yet, have there been significant changes to the nation? The Taliban have integrated themselves into government and have begun to seek out those that they view as traitors for retribution and the soldiers that gave their lives for a democratic Afghanistan never realised their goal.

The Taliban, meaning “students” in the Pashto language, were founded in 1994 by, Mullah Mohammed Omar, a former commander during the Afghan-Soviet War. They ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 when the U.S. invasion began. Western forces entered the country after the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City on the 11th September 2001 to begin what was known as the ‘War on Terror’.

Afghanistan was targeted following the reveal that the Taliban had sheltered Osama bin Laden, founder of al-Qaeda. It is necessary to distinguish that although the Taliban have trained and provided assistance to terrorists, they are not, themselves, considered a terrorist group.

In fact, American think-tank, Council on Foreign Affairs, and the Wall Street Journal refer to the Taliban as an Islamic fundamentalist group. In September 2021, they announced their return to government in Tehran after a swift victory over the Afghan armies.

Many citizens around the world were left troubled at how quickly the group took over the country after foreign troops began their final withdrawal in May. However, those involved in the recent drafting and ratification of the Doha Agreement may have been able to predict such a result.

The Doha Agreement, named after the Qatari city in which it was signed on the 29th February 2020, is a peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban. The entire treaty can be found here on the U.S. State Department website.

The pact primarily allowed for the withdrawal of all NATO troops so long as the Taliban continued to prevent terrorist organisation, al-Qaeda, from gaining power in Taliban-controlled areas.

Although it did not involve the previous government of Afghanistan, it provided that the Taliban would continue talks to attempt to resolve conflict. Both sides, also, promised the release of political prisoners – five thousand by the United States and one thousand by the Taliban. This pact was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and supported by nations such as China, Russia, Pakistan and India.

Despite the ideal pathway that was paved in the Doha Pact, its integration has seen major issues with both sides criticising each other’s devotion to the agreement. The Taliban accused the Biden administration of violating the peace deal last month since Sirajuddin Haqqani, Afghanistan’s new interior minister, and his family were not withdrawn from all UN and U.S. blacklists. Haqqani is “among two thirds of the newly unveiled cabinet ministers who are on UN or U.S. sanctions lists”.

U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken justified the move by explaining that “any legitimacy, any support, will have to be earned” by the new Afghan government. However, should this issue fail to be rectified soon, it may prevent the Taliban from keeping their promise to abandon communications with other known terrorist organisations.

Similarly, the United States have been blamed for the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan and the reason that many human rights and equalities will soon be significantly reduced. According to France 24, it was thought that despite the allied forces withdrawal from Afghanistan, the formidably equipped Afghan military would be fierce opposition to the Taliban due to the funding from Washington.

The reality displayed “corruption, poor leadership, lack of training and plummeting morale for years” that led US government inspectors to determine the Afghan forces as “unsustainable”. Despite these fundamental flaws in the military, the lack of morale was considered a result of the Doha Pact as for many Afghan soldiers, the move made by the Americans was a sign of “betrayal and abandonment”.

It is undeniable that the U.S. War on Terror in Afghanistan was no longer sustainable after twenty years of combat. Thousands of soldiers and civilians on all sides lost their lives and billions of dollars were spent with no significant result.

The Doha Pact was arranged as a method of preserving any possible peace while ensuring evacuation of foreign troops. Considering that the previous Afghan government was not involved in the creation of this act, it could be argued that a Taliban takeover was thought to be the inevitable outcome.

It is difficult for many UN member states to witness the loss of gender equality and human rights in Afghanistan, but this pact has once again guaranteed their freedom from third-party interference.