US-Afghan Strategic Pact Stir Confusion

298

Context

Taliban have denounced the strategic partnership agreement signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama on Tuesday, calling it illegitimate. The comment posted on the Voice of Jihad website claimed Karzai was not authorized to sign the document.

Taliban “deems this document the selling-document of Afghanistan by a powerless puppet (Karzai) to his invading master and condemns it in worst possible terms”, the statement said. They further vowed to continue armed jihad until the full withdrawal of the invading forces and their puppets from Afghanistan.

Moreover, Taliban announced launching of the Spring Offensive, codenamed al-Farouq, by attacking the heavily fortified guesthouse complex in Kabul used by western groups including EU and UN. The strike took place only a few hours after President Obama left Afghanistan and killed seven people. Taliban claim the primary targets of their operations would be “foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors, all those who help them militarily and in intelligence”.

The terms and details of the agreement have remained vague and are beginning to stir confusion in the region regarding American role in Afghanistan beyond 2014. For example, while US has claimed it will not keep long-term military bases in Afghanistan, its neighbors are not convinced. Furthermore, while US has stated Afghanistan will not be used as a staging attacks against Pakistan, the drone strikes there are continuing. This uncertainty regarding the long-term intent of various stakeholders will only complicate the reconciliation process.