Date of Degree

2-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Karen R. Miller

Subject Categories

American Politics | International Relations | Near and Middle Eastern Studies

Keywords

Peacebuilding, State-building, Liberal Peacebuilding, Dialogue, Coercion

Abstract

This research paper addresses the efforts of the U.S. to achieve some level of reconciliation with the Taliban after more than 18 years of war in Afghanistan. It deals with the history of U.S.-Taliban negotiations and the U.S. initiatives to engage with the Taliban, as well as outlining the challenges to these initiatives and determining how effective they have been. In addition, the prospects of the U.S.-Taliban peace talks are assessed.

Since the 2001 U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, the first two U.S. administrations under consideration—those of George W. Bush and Barack Obama—justified intrusive interventions into the political, economic, and social affairs of Afghanistan under a “state-building” approach to address a combination of security and humanitarian challenges. The U.S. promoted state-building initiatives guided by a liberal peacebuilding ideology that were supposed to promote peace, democracy, and market-led development in the region.

Two years after Trump came to office, his administration abandoned this state-building approach and hopes of a military victory over the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan. The question of how to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan has also proven to be troublesome for the U.S. and the Afghans. The process of peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban, which started in early 2018, has lacked transparency and a clear strategy. However, it seems that the U.S.-Taliban peace talks in Doha have started the beginning of an end to a supposedly “endless war” for the U.S. Nonetheless, this might not end the conflict within Afghanistan, as the U.S. peace deal with the Taliban is more likely to create the conditions for future civil war than a sustainable peace among Afghans.

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