US Envoy Looks to Accelerate Afghan Peace Talks

Khalilzad stops in Kabul before key Taliban meeting in Doha

US peace talks with the Afghan Taliban were going on in some shape or form secretly in recent weeks, but now that President Trump has publicly confirmed them, more specific details are being offered.

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the negotiator of the near-finished first peace process, is looking to accelerate things this time, stopping off in Kabul on Wednesday to meet with Afghan officials about the process on his way to Doha, where he will meet with the Taliban.

The Doha visit marks what US officials are terming the formal resumption of the Afghan peace talks, despite them having resumed awhile ago. The Taliban have expressed an expectation that the talks simply build off what was already agreed upon in September, when President Trump declared the process “dead,” and since Khalilzad is running talks past and present, it’s likely he’ll want to avoid a lot of reinventing the wheel after months of very productive talks.

President Trump has set up the expectation that the new talks would involve a ceasefire, and that’s also something Afghan officials are pushing for. US negotiators have previously warned a ceasefire right away might not be attainable, though Khalilzad likely will be obliged to bring that up, given the number of times it has been reported in the past week.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.