United States and Afghan government want a peaceful settlement of Taliban issue in Afghanistan. While Taliban are attacking the forces on daily basis. The US and Afghan government must realize that keeping NATO and ISAF forces in Afghanistan, is the biggest hindrance to peaceful solution of the Taliban issue. Political dialogue is the best course of action in combating terrorism. War will be unwinnable, when it is militarized. History shows that the war against militants cannot be won by military means. There is an indirect relation between the presence of military in a conflict area and the peace process. The greater the number of foreign military, the worse will be the outcome, for example the presence of France in Algeria, France and United States in Indonesia, The USSR in Afghanistan has not resolved the conflict. For peaceful endowment of Taliban issues government of Afghanistan must take the less militarized means for sustainable peace in the country. The Afghan government must also build friendly relationship with the regional power like India, Pakistan, and Russia etc to curb the spoiling process in attaining peace.

Demilitarization and the logic behind it:

The strategy here would be to encourage military disengagement. This would involve a decrease in domestic interference by the US/NATO troops. The primary role of these troops will have to be changed from offense against the Taliban to defending the citizens of Afghanistan. This has also been recommended in the Carnegie Endowment Report issued in 2009. The military presence will also have to be decreased eventually. Although, this step has to be carefully calibrated as the US/NATO forces are the prime defense line for protecting civilians from terrorist activities.

History clearly reflects that with increase in military presence in Afghanistan, the instability has only escalated; the number of civilian as well as US/NATO casualties has only increased; as has recruitment into Taliban and other ‘extremist’ groups. Although this approach seems unorthodox, if with increase in foreign military personnel, unrest has increased, it stands to reason that with a decrease in military presence, the situation will improve. There is a psychological factor at play here, local afghan people feel uncomfortable due to the presence of foreign military, and some of the more traditional perceive it as a threat to the culture and sovereignty of Afghanistan, therefore, join local militia or even terrorist groups in an attempt to drive them out. This explains the rise in number of Taliban and other freedom fighter groups in Afghanistan. It is therefore crucial if the US continues on the plan to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. This will de-escalate the animosity between locals and the establishment. The government will also have to ban drone attacks and allow the US troops to only carry out ground operations, that too in the case of great emergency. The citizens need to see the Kabul government as sovereign and as their own representative instead of their oppressor, which is only possible if the strong presence of US and NATO troops decreases and eventually drops to zero. It is also suggested to use this withdrawal of troops as bargaining chip to further consolidate the opportunity of negotiations between Taliban and Afghan government.

Using withdrawal as a ‘Bargaining Chip’:

The US can take the Taliban leaders and the citizens of Afghanistan into confidence by guaranteeing that it will continue to withdraw its forces as long as the stability and peace is maintained. Taliban will jump at the opportunity of finally getting rid of US/NATO forces and do whatever it takes to ensure their departure. The government, as an incentive to Taliban, can allow them representation in the government so that their cooperation is maintained. The process of demilitarization can be accelerated or slowed down depending upon the results from insurgent groups as well as the government. At the slightest sign of disloyalty, the US/NATO troops can slow down the withdrawal process. The Afghan government and Taliban will have to fulfill security and sociopolitical agreements in order to maintain the withdrawal of NATO forces.

Security agreements:

A security agreement between the Afghan government and all armed actors needs to be reached to ensure peace and prosperity in the region. The military disengagement would be directly linked to this agreement. The agreement is to be negotiated under the supervision of UN officials. For a participatory role in the new Afghan government and for ensuring the departure of foreign forces from afghan soil, Taliban will be asked to cooperate with the government in suppressing terrorist activities. The government will need to be cautious of those who try to prevent this agreement for prolonging war for their own personal benefits. These entities may include corrupt politicians from within Afghan government, local tribe lords or neighboring states. The government also needs to realize that foreign aid will eventually rundown and that it needs to stand on its own feet, which is not possible without sharing power with Taliban.

Another agreement needs to be formed between the Afghan government and international forces. This agreement will ensure that neighboring countries stop interfering in the domestic matters of Afghanistan and instead help in rebuilding the country. The only input that can be allowed is a positive one. It is the duty of the neighboring to countries to help in all possible ways, mainly in rebuilding infrastructure, training Afghan military personnel and increasing military potential of Afghanistan. Support staff also needs to be provided in the field of medicine and education. India has already been contributing in humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan; it is time that Pakistan and other neighbors also take a start. All of this, however, will only be possible if the new government maintains good diplomatic relations with its neighbors.

Pakistan has grown weary of Afghan-India relations and needs to be taken into confidence for the betterment of the entire region. Another reason that Pakistan has key importance is the fact that it has been a supporter of Afghan Taliban in the past. Without having Pakistan reach an agreement with the new Afghan government, it will be highly improbable for Afghanistan to reach stability.

Reconciliation, power sharing:

Security cooperation in Afghanistan is impossible without a political solution that involves reconciling various hostile elements. This would lead to a more inclusive national government which has representation from all groups. It is also argued that conflict within Afghanistan can be resolved by distribution of power among the major ethnic groups and the political factions and between the central afghan government and the provinces. Finding a right balance that would keep all of the players satisfied, is the most crucial part. As the Kabul government mostly comprises of Tajik, Uzbek and other Northern Alliance groups, they will have to share their power with the pro-Taliban Pushtun tribe. Although the need of power-sharing and reconciliation has been recognized from a long time, all efforts up till now have been half-hearted. The problem persists due to lack of commitment from both Kabul and Washington, who have continued to believe that a military action would eventually force insurgents into surrendering to the writ of the government. All efforts of reconciliation have been limited to the lower-level Taliban units instead of directing negotiations with higher ranking commanders.

The government also needs to assure Taliban that it is committed to finding a peaceful solution. Michael Semple, former deputy for reconciliation to European Union special representative in Afghanistan, has presented a plan on how to pursue negotiations with Taliban. In his plan, he has stated that Taliban groups who have previously attempted to reintegrate with the new government have been subjected to arbitrary arrest, seizure of property and general harassment. This kind of behavior by the Afghan government discourages any chances of Taliban willing to negotiate in the future.