Failure to reintegrate 60,000 Taliban threat to Afghanistan peace deal, report says

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KABUL (TCA) — Any future peace agreement in Afghanistan will be unsustainable if tens of thousands of Taliban militants are not adequately reintegrated into society, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report, Sputnik news agency reported.

“A failure to peacefully reintegrate as many as 60,000 heavily armed Taliban long-term would threaten any peace agreement as disaffected former Taliban who may have been expecting a peace dividend may return to violent and predatory behavior,” SIGAR spokesperson Lauren Mick said in a press release accompanying the report.

A weak economy, the report added, will offer few sustainable options for reintegrating Taliban fighters and without additional external donor funding, the peace agreement will collapse.

The report also warned that the Afghan government lacks the capacity to manage its $5 billion annual budget, half of which is funded by foreign aid.

The press release came after negotiations between US and Taliban officials kicked off in late February in Doha where they agreed to a preliminary framework that calls for the United States to withdraw troops in exchange for counterterrorism assurances from the insurgents.

In the meantime, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is currently on a multi-nation trip as part of his efforts for facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan.

The US State Department said that Khalilzad’s March 25-April 10 trip to Afghanistan, Britain, Belgium, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, and Qatar was “part of the overall effort to facilitate a peace process that brings all Afghan parties together in inclusive intra-Afghan negotiations.”

Sergey Kwan

TCA