Former US government officials urge Washington to discard Doha Deal

Two former members of the US government’s National Security Council have called on Washington to discard the Doha Deal and engage with the Taliban’s opposition groups.

Writing in the Foreign Policy magazine, Richard Fontaine, who is the chief executive officer at the Center for a New American Security and worked for the George W. Bush’s government, and Lisa Curtis, who is the director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security and served as senior director for South and Central Asia on the National Security Council, argues that the US government can send a “diplomatic message” to the Taliban by discarding the Doha Deal, which paved the way for the US withdrawal in August 2021.

“Voiding the [Doha] agreement would signal that America’s approach to Afghanistan is no longer premised on trust in Taliban promises,” they argue.

Afghan political figures given sanctuary in Turkey, the authors say, are constrained by the Turkish government’s restrictions on their activities but are still trying to harmonise their approaches to dealing with the situation in Afghanistan. The US government, they recommend, help establish a political office for the opponents of the Taliban, similar to that of the Taliban in Doha.

Reopening Afghanistan’s embassy in Washington and denying the Taliban international legitimacy are the other prerequisites of effectively challenging the Taliban, the authors say.