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US policy towards the Taliban since the end of the cold war

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  1. Introduction.
  2. US policies towards Afghanistan between 1989 and 2001.
  3. The reasons of the evolution of this policy.
  4. What could Washington have done differently regarding the Taliban to promote U.S. interests in Afghanistan.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

The withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989 did not provoke the fall of Najibullah's communist regime, but rather the beginning of Civil war between the different factions and ethnics. The US was officially not interested anymore in that part of the world and focused primarily in Europe. However, the USA had kept ties with the Mujaheddins who had received US support (training and ammunition) through Pakistan in 1980s. As early as 1994 and the emergence of the Taliban movement from Pakistani madrassas (in refugees camps), US diplomats recognized their interest: the Taliban and the US shared common objectives, i.e. ?eliminating drugs and thugs? (narco-traffic, terrorism) and fighting against Iran. Thus it welcomed and supported through Pakistan and Saudi Arabia the victory of the Taliban in 1996. The Taliban were also considered as the best option for a stable and secure Afghanistan where American companies would invest, especially Unocal and its pipeline project (from the Caspian to Pakistan).

[...] In the 1997, the US were more involved in Afghanistan and supported the attempts of UN officials to promote international cooperation. The 6+2 meetings in former soviets republics could have been organized before (even if cooperation with Iran would not have been easy at that time). The US and Russia could have fostered regional cooperation with a pledge of each neighbor not to intervene in Afghanistan domestic affairs. Such an initiative could have been launched if at the same time, the US had supported a national conference (Loya Jirgah) to enable national reconciliation and the establishment of a government representative of the multiethnic population: a Pashtun majority but with a protection of the Hazara, Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen minorities. [...]

[...] Finally, after the 9/11 attacks, the USA led an international coalition under a UN resolution: the Enduring Freedom Operation aimed to remove the Taliban government The reasons of the evolution of this policy The US policies towards the Taliban have changed mainly because of the change of the US primary interests in the region. If the American officials welcomed the Taliban in 1994 as a way to fight the influence of Iran, a way to reduce poppy cultivation and to stabilize the country in order to develop economic relations, the situation changed after 1997. [...]

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