In a meeting between the two sides on Friday in Doha, the head of US and NATO forces General Scott Miller accused the Taliban of failing to curb the violence as required by the agreement concluded between the two sides on 29th February 2020. The Taliban leaders lamented that the US was aiding the Afghan government that is busy fighting them, and held the US responsible for causing civilian casualties.

This latest exchange of accusations shows the trust deficit and hostility that is bound to be seen amongst bitter rivals still persists. It stands as a significant challenge to the implementation of the terms of the peace deal aimed at enabling a complete withdrawal of foreign troops and possible power-sharing among Afghans. If the trust deficit remains and no concrete efforts are made to bridge the gap, the deal will become irrelevant. This will only serve to reignite the flames of war leaving little hope for much needed peace.

Not being a signatory of the deal and insecure about its position if and when foreign troops exit the country, President Ashraf Ghani’s government in Kabul does not appear in the mood to play ball. Only recently, the Taliban called off the intra-Afghan talks alleging that Kabul was violating the peace deal by not releasing the members of the insurgent group. Unnecessary bickering and continued hostilities between Taliban and Kabul is threatening to reverse small gains made in the recent months. Even if foreign troops leave the country, the future of Afghanistan appears bleak as conditions remain ripe for another civil war.

Though the Afghan government’s release of 200 prisoners that the Taliban reciprocated by freeing 20 prisoners is somewhat encouraging, there is a lot more that needs to be done. Priority should be given to easing out tensions between the Ghani-led government and the Taliban. Ultimately, the NATO alliance will have to leave sooner or later. The crucial element for enduring stability will be the success of Afghans in ironing out their differences and coexisting in peace.