A shift in leadership always brings questions with it. One of the main questions brought up is of how new leaders will deal with the existing talks and agreements with other nations put in place by the preceding government.
Upon his presidential win earlier in November, Joe Biden has become the latest political figure to face those questions. Any deals that had been arranged previously throughout the year have now become his responsibility to address. Adding to this pressure is the expectations that are held by relevant parties involved who will hold the new leaders to deals made by their predecessors.
The top political leaders of the Taliban have stated that they will expect Biden to uphold the historic February 29 Landmark Pact officially titled the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan, which was negotiated by Donald Trump this year.
Within the pact was the pledge that the US would lower the number of troops within Afghanistan by over 4,000 before July 2020. More significantly, it also pledged a full withdrawal of troops within 14 months if the Taliban stuck to its commitments.
Following the recent shift in leadership within the US, there have been questions raised surrounding this deal, and how the Biden administration will address the peace talks with the Taliban. In a recent statement, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem spoke on the matter, saying the Taliban have an expectation “that the ongoing peace process and the agreement with the U.S. government will remain on track”.
They are likely referencing Trump’s highly optimistic claims which have been made since the original agreement to be able to have all US troops out of Afghanistan and home by Christmas. However, during his campaign, Biden said he would maintain a small troop presence within Afghanistan in order to eradicate the risks posed by al-Qaeda or Islamic-state terrorists.
Though this would be opposing Trump’s pledges, there is still room for negotiations to be had as not all involved sided with Trump’s vision. Although not present within the February peace talks, Afghanistan has begun to be involved in peace negotiations with the Taliban in the second half of the year. As it stands now, most ordinary Afghans would prefer Biden to lead the withdrawal as they feel a slow approach would allow for a more firmly rooted peace than Trump’s proposed Christmas strategy.
Although there is still much to be done before peace talks have been completed between the US and the Taliban, not to mention Afghanistan, it seems as though the change in leadership will allow for a more level-headed approach and fresh-eyed perspective on the situation.