US and Taliban Begin Highest Level Afghanistan Negotiations Yet

Taliban deputy leader is present amid hope of progress

A new round of negotiations on Afghanistan has begun on Monday in the Qatari capital city. A delegation of US diplomats and top Taliban figures, including deputy Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, are present for what is sure to be the highest level of talks yet.

18+ years into the US war in Afghanistan, they’ve gone from the Taliban denying negotiations were even taking place, to confirming they are. Progress is now being confirmed by both sides, with a basic framework of a war-ending deal in place.

That deal, specifics not-withstanding, are that the US would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, and the Taliban would ensure that neither al-Qaeda nor ISIS could operate inside of the country in the future.

Having Mullah Baradar and US negotiator head Zalmay Khalilzad sitting across the table from one another only underscores how serious the talks are getting, and this latest round of talks is expected to continue hammering out specific details.

With so much at stake, Khalilzad and Baradar even had a “working lunch” ahead of the formal talks. Delegates on both sides clearly have high hopes, and are putting a lot into this effort.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.