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Will the U.S.-Taliban Deal End the War?
Will the U.S.-Taliban Deal End the War?
Op-Ed / Asia

Will the U.S.-Taliban Deal End the War?

Originally published in The New York Times

The value of the expected agreement between the United States and the Taliban lies in opening the door to an Afghan peace process.

The talks between the United States and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, which were abruptly canceled by President Trump in September, are back on track. After several months of diplomatic regrouping, American and Taliban negotiators are once again on the verge of sealing a deal.

The negotiators haven’t revised the basic transaction they set out last August — an American commitment to withdraw troops from Afghanistan for a Taliban promise not to allow the country to be used by transnational terrorists. Rather, they have added sweeteners to the bargain: As a Taliban concession, a seven-day “reduction in violence” before the United States will sign the deal, possibly followed by further steps to keep violence down, and the release of prisoners demanded by the insurgents.

These measures may help build confidence in the plausibility of good-faith negotiation, but they are primarily face-saving devices. The violence reduction allows President Trump to reverse his repudiation of the talks and the Afghan government to stop insisting that it would not participate in the next stage of negotiations unless the Taliban declare and hold a cease-fire for at least a month.

Read the full text here.