Afghanistan, a tightrope peace process

The European Union reconfirmed its solidarity and collaboration with the Afghan people at the Afghanistan 2020 conference in Geneva. In the next five years it will allocate 1.2 billion euros for emergency aid and long-term projects.

Afghanistan launched a peace process in February to end nearly 20 years of war. But high levels of violence put him at risk. The number of Afghan civilians killed or injured in the conflict has not decreased since the beginning of the peace talks between the Afghans. This year almost 6,000 civilians have died. More than 30% were children and 13% were women.

“We have to understand that in these talks and after the Doha agreement between the United States and the Taliban, there were five chapters. Four chapters have been completed. The only one left is the ceasefire. So, I think the international community has the right, duty and responsibility to hold the Taliban accountable to the world and to achieve a ceasefire not tomorrow but today, because the ceasefire should not be the end of the process because this process can take a long time. It will take months, maybe years, “explains Roland Kobia, the EU’s special envoy to Afghanistan.

Afghans remain the second nationality in number of asylum applications in the European Union. But this is not the only thing that makes the role of the EU relevant, as Kobia explains. “What we have seen in the past is that the instability that comes from Afghanistan also reaches remote parts of the world like Europe. Afghanistan is today the first population of irregular migrants in Europe, so this is a very important point and we should find a way to manage it and analyze the root causes. There are also narcotics. Afghanistan is the world’s leading producer of heroin. Therefore, there is a whole range of problems that also range from extremism, to violent extremism, radical ideologies … All these things can, of course, be exported out of Afghanistan and reach our countries, “says Kobia.

US troops entered the country to overthrow the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks. Their withdrawal is part of the agreement, but according to most diplomats and experts in Europe, this could cause the fragile peace process to collapse.

“I see that Trump is leaving a poisonous parting gift to President-elect Biden by announcing the withdrawal of American forces. Most likely, President-elect Biden will have to step back and confirm that the current level of American forces is adequate until that there is a marked improvement on the ground “, says Fabrice Pothier, analyst at the Rasmussen Global consultancy.

Pothier believes that the only possible role for Europe is to support Afghanistan economically, but it has little influence both in the peace negotiations and in its future development.