US, Taliban Negotiations Focus on Troop Withdrawal, Counter-Terrorism

Sides are looking to decide on timelines, guarantees

The high-level talks between the US and Taliban delegations in Qatar looks to be getting off to a promising start today. The talks started with a meet and greet, and then got right down to business on a peace deal aimed at ending the 17-plus year war.

That deal, as previously reported, is centered on the US withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan, and the Taliban ensuring that neither ISIS nor al-Qaeda is able to use Afghan soil in the future. Early indications are that these new talks are trying to hammer out the specifics of that.

On the one hand, that means they are trying to come up with a specific timeline for the withdrawal of some 14,000 US troops from Afghanistan, as well as the logistics of withdrawing decades of geat from the country.

At the same time, the US wants some guarantees that the Taliban will deliver on promises to keep terror groups out of Afghanistan. It’s not clear so far what form those guarantees might take, but there seems to be confidence that a deal is possible.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of