Why was Zalmay Khalilzad’s resignation the precise factor to do?

With Khalilzad out of the image, his successor has the possibility to flexibly adapt to the brand new actuality that he inherited

US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad simply resigned after three years in his submit and will likely be changed by Deputy Special Representative Thomas West. This was the precise move to do for a number of causes, the obvious of which is that his function is redundant after the Taliban’s profitable takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August. Not solely was this knowledgeable embarrassment for him, however Khalilzad additionally should have been personally disillusioned by all the pieces and easily may not have had the need to proceed in his submit.

The revolutionary scenario that came about two months in the past meant that it was time for the US to nominate somebody new as their level particular person for partaking with the nation’s de facto leaders. Khalilzad’s association with the failed intra-Afghan peace course of and the US’ chaotic withdrawal that adopted stained his legacy and made significant cooperation with the Taliban on this new actuality way more tough to achieve. It’s pure for a brand new face to be related to a brand new actuality, therefore another excuse for his resignation.

That aforesaid actuality is one through which the US misplaced its on-the-ground and army leverage with the Taliban. The solely affect that it nonetheless retains over the group is monetary after the federal government froze that nation’s accounts inside its jurisdiction and pressured the monetary establishments below its affect, the IMF and World Bank, to droop assist to Afghanistan. This Machiavellian move enabled the US to retain vital sway relating to influencing the course of that nation’s future.

America will now follow a mixture of standard and financial diplomacy in Afghanistan. The first-mentioned is self-explanatory and pertains to conventional diplomatic dealings whereas the second refers back to the newfound monetary leverage that it exerts over that nation. The interaction between these two types of diplomacy is meant to affect the Taliban to make good on its prior guarantees of ethno-political inclusiveness and respect for minority and ladies’s rights.

Be that as it might, the US nonetheless doesn’t have the identical affect that it did just some months again as a result of how a lot all the pieces has modified since then. It’s potential that its function might be sidelined if regional stakeholders have the political will to coordinate multilateral help to Afghanistan as an alternative. The US’ chief diplomatic problem is due to this fact to stay related to this course of amid such potential geo-economic competitors by not pushing the Taliban an excessive amount of to the purpose the place the group not actually cares what America says.

The carrot that the US can doubtlessly dangle earlier than the Taliban is to considerably put money into within the PAKAFUZ railway, which refers back to the challenge that was agreed to in February by Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan. This potential hall serves a number of mutually useful geo-economic features for these three nations, Russia, China, and the US. It’s in America’s finest pursuits to not give up its potential function in PAKAFUZ to its Russian and Chinese rivals, which may occur if it pushes the Taliban too exhausting on reforms.

Although the US doesn’t formally recognise Afghanistan’s de facto Taliban-led authorities, it nonetheless pragmatically engages with it. This may consequence within the US accepting the group’s casual participation within the “New Quad” that was unveiled in late July between itself and the three PAKAFUZ nations. That new diplomatic community is centered on increasing regional connectivity, which enhances that earlier described railway challenge and offers one other value-added profit to the US retaining pragmatic relations with the Taliban it doesn’t matter what.

With Khalilzad out of the image, his successor has the possibility to flexibly adapt to the brand new actuality that he inherited so as to advance American pursuits in post-war Afghanistan. He in fact can’t act with out larger approval which implies that it’s incumbent that he’s granted such in any other case the US dangers shedding out within the “Great Geo-Economic Game” that’s unfolding on this geostrategic trans-regional house. It’ll stay to be seen whether or not its approach will evolve in gentle of those new challenges, however all the pieces ought to develop into clearer quickly.

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