Over the weekend, the Taliban suggested progress is being made on a peace effort with the US in Afghanistan. Most significantly, they confirmed that the US has agreed to talks centering on withdrawing US troops from the country.
That’s not sitting well with the idea of the Afghan High Peace Council, which has issued a statement saying any talk of foreign troops leaving is “premature” and that they believe Taliban calls are only for propaganda value.
The High Peace Council was established in 2010 and was intended to negotiate with the Taliban. So far they’ve had limited involvement, and now seem eager to undermine US-Taliban talks. The officials say the US needs to take Afghan security interests into account before considering a pullout, and can only do so in talks that include everybody.
In essence, the High Peace Council is holding out for the same thing they’ve wanted from the start, a situation in which the US can totally stabilize the country and defeat the Taliban, at which point discussion of a pullout can happen. Since that’s clearly never going to happen, they are rejecting the idea of the US talking pullout at all.