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Even peace deal might not see normalcy returning to Afghanistan, fears US report

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Washington, March 30: Although the US and Taliban are conducting talks to give peace a chance in war-ravaged Afghanistan since last year, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has said in an alarming report on Thursday, March 28, that things do not look bright irrespective of a peace deal.

Even peace deal might not see normalcy returning to Afghanistan, fears US report

According to Afghanistan's TOLOnews, a potential peace deal "will likely" fail to save Afghanistan from dealing with terrorism and turning into a "narco state", said the SIGAR report which is bound to make the international community turn apprehensive over the scenario in Afghanistan.

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John Sopko, chief of SIGAR released the agency's High-Risk List report that covered threats to the US's nation-building efforts in Afghanistan at an event of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, the news report added.

"With or without a peace settlement, Afghanistan will likely continue to grapple with multiple violent-extremist organizations, who threaten Afghanistan and the international community ...With or without a peace agreement, Afghanistan runs the risk of becoming a 'narco-state' and has already been described as such by former officials from the US government and international organizations," the report was cited as saying.

Pentagon said Afghanistan still has the "highest regional concentration of terrorist groups in the world" while SIGAR is not sure whether Afghanistan and the Taliban will ever get rid of the opium trade since it remains a major source of funding.

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"In 2017, the poppy crop generated approximately $1.4 billion for Afghan farmers, plus billions more for refiners and traffickers, amounting to the equivalent of 20% to 32% of Afghanistan's gross domestic product-a share about the size of the country's entire licit agricultural sector and far exceeding licit exports of goods and services in 2016. A peace agreement is unlikely to change that dynamic," the report added.

The SIGAR report identified various threats to the US's billion-dollar reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and they include: corruption, poor economic growth, threats to women's rights, challenge in reintegrating about 6,000 Taliban fighters into the society and also restricted oversight, the TOLOnews report said.

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