Only international backing, ideally through the UN Security Council, can make any agreement durable.–op. cit.
Vikram Singh and Jacob Stokes, opinion contributors to The Hill, discuss peace prospects in Afghanistan. These authors claim that regional powers and the United States have common interest in a stable peace in Afghanistan. They suggest that an international coalition might promote and enforce a peace agreement.
I find the authors’ views optimistic:
- They discuss the interests of regional powers–China, India, Iran, Pakistan–but brush over the role of the Taliban.
- The Taliban is unlikely to give up in negotiations what they have won after decades of war.
- A toothless international coalition is unlikely to have much influence with the Taliban.
To an extent the authors acknowledge these points. They conclude:
Presidents Trump, Xi and Putin have a real interest in directing their diplomatic, military and intelligence establishments to work together on ending this war. The question remains whether their common interests in this one sphere will be enough to drive focused cooperation despite broader tensions and competition.
“Focused cooperation” is a vague goal far short of “lasting peace.”
Vikram Singh is senior advisor for Asia at the United States Institute of Peace. He was U.S. deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and deputy assistant Secretary of Defense.
Jacob Stokes is a senior policy analyst in the China program at USIP. He previously served on the national security staff for former Vice President Joe Biden and as a professional staff member for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.