The US-Taliban war started in 2001 when, according to America, Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four commercial airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Close to three-thousand people died in the attacks. President George W Bush signed into law a joint resolution authorising the use of force against those responsible for attacking the United States on 9/11. This joint resolution would later be cited by the Bush administration as legal rationale for its decision to take sweeping measures to combat terrorism. The end of the Taliban regime is generally tied to this date, when the Taliban surrendered Afghanistan and Taliban leader Mullah Omar fled Kabul, leaving it under tribal law administered by Pashtun leaders. Despite the official fall of the Taliban, however, Al-Qaeda leaders continue to hide out in the mountains and continued their attacks on US and Afghan troops repeatedly. Thus the war continued in one way or other, keeping the United States engaged in war.
Hamid Karzai, chairman of Afghanistan’s interim administration since December 2001, was picked to head the country’s transitional government. His selection happened during an emergency Loya Jirga assembled in Kabul, attended by 1,550 delegates (including about 200 women) from Afghanistan’s 364 districts. Karzai, leader of the powerful Popalzai tribe of Durrani Pashtuns, returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan after the 9/11 attacks to organise Pashtun resistance to the Taliban. Some observers allege that Karzai tolerated corruption by members of his clan and his government. The Northern Alliance, dominated by ethnic Tajiks, failed in its effort to have a prime minister of its own but did succeed in checking the presidential powers by assigning major authorities to the elected Parliament, such as the power to veto senior official nominees and to impeach the President.
But electing Hamid Karzai as president and having an interim government did not solve the problem of Americans, as the Taliban engaged them continuously in war. So, America was internally always ready for a fruitful dialogue with the Taliban, but there were no successful attempts to lead the talks. On May 1, 2003, during a briefing with reporters in Kabul, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared an end to “major combat.” The announcement coincided with President George W Bush’s “mission accomplished” declaration of the end to fighting in Iraq. Rumsfeld said that President Bush, US Central Command Chief Gen Tommy Franks, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai “have concluded that we are at a point where we have moved from major combat activity to a period of stability and stabilisation and reconstruction and activities.” There were only eight-thousand US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan at the time. It was predicted that the transition from combat to reconstruction would bring peace to Afghanistan.
An agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban on February 29, 2020, marked a milestone in America’s longest-ever war. Accordingly, the majority of US troops were to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2021. In turn, and if this agreement was successfully implemented, sections of the Taliban could be expected to play a larger role in Afghan politics. The agreement signed with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, was of total withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and in return the Taliban assurance that they will not attack US troops or American people.
Now it is clear that the ball is in the Taliban court. They have achieved the aim for which they were fighting. But one thing which the Taliban should take care of is that an entire Afghan generation has seen only war and no peace. They should now allow children, especially school-going girls, to study peacefully and allow them to enjoy their life peacefully. So does Islam allow for the fundamental rights of men as well as women. Taliban should change the policy of their foreign affairs and many such allied activities. They should learn from their past mistakes and give everyone the right to live in peace, harmony and tranquillity. Their responsibility is to make a new and peaceful Afghanistan.