Monday, September 14, 2020

Taliban, Afghanistan Begin Historic Talks After Trump Admin Paves the Way for Peace; What You Need to Know

Hussein Sayed/AP
Taliban, Afghanistan Begin Historic Talks After Trump Admin Paves the Way for Peace:
Afghanistan’s warring sides started negotiations for the first time, bringing together the Taliban and delegates appointed by the Afghan government on Saturday for historic meetings aimed at ending decades of war.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the opening ceremony in Qatar, where the meetings are taking place and where the Taliban maintain a political office.
“Each of you carry a great responsibility,” Pompeo told the participants. “You have an opportunity to overcome your divisions.”
While Saturday’s opening was ceremonial, the hard negotiations will be held behind closed doors and over a number of sessions. But following a meeting with the Taliban on Saturday in Doha, Washington’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said the U.S. and every Afghan would like to see a deal “sooner rather than later.”
The sides will be tackling tough issues in the negotiations, which will include the terms of a permanent ceasefire, the rights of women and minorities and the disarming of tens of thousands of Taliban fighters and militias loyal to warlords, some of them aligned with the government. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: karim jaafar/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Afghan Peace Talks: What You Need to Know:
Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban met in historic, U.S.-brokered talks
The Afghan government and the Taliban met in Qatar on Sept. 12 for their first direct talks to end a nearly 20-year conflict. The negotiation is brokered by the U.S. as part of attempts to withdraw American troops from its longest war.
The Afghan war started in 2001, when the U.S.-led coalition invaded Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The invasion toppled the Taliban rule, which hosted al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attack.
The peace talks aim not only to wrap up the current war but to bring peace to a country that has suffered four decades of bloodshed. Before the 2001 invasion, Afghanistan endured an armed struggle against Soviet occupation in the 1980s; civil war; and an oppressive Taliban rule.
The talks follow a conditional agreement struck in February between the Taliban and the Trump administration, which involved a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops within 14 months in return for guarantees that the Islamist movement would prevent al Qaeda and other terrorists from operating in areas under its control.
The deal also required the Taliban and the Afghan government to discuss a permanent cease-fire, after releasing thousands of prisoners on each side.
How significant are the Afghan talks for the U.S.?
By brokering the peace process, the Trump administration aims to withdraw the remaining U.S. troops from a war that has bogged down three successive American governments. The troop drawdown will help President Trump make a case ahead of the November presidential elections that he is extricating the U.S. from its long wars, as he also pulls troops from Iraq. A big challenge for the U.S. is to prevent Afghanistan—as well as Iraq—from again becoming a staging ground for terrorist attacks. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to related stories:

Afghan Government and Taliban Meet to Kick Off Historic Peace Talks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lauds ‘momentous’ Afghan peace talks

19 years after 9/11 triggered war, Afghan peace talks open in Doha

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