Afghan Negotiators Face Doubts Amid Political Turmoil

New panel faulted as not inclusive enough

With some hope that prisoner releases in the next few days could set the stage for intra-Afghan talks, President Ghani has finally appointed his 21-member negotiations team to deal with the Taliban. How acceptable the panel will be remains to be seen.

Political turmoil would be putting it mildly in describing Afghanistan. Ghani is facing a rival government headed by Abdullah Abdullah after the election was disputed. His panel is said not to be inclusive enough, and with two governments, how could it be?

Negotiating with the Taliban is likely to be a challenge because of this too, as they’ll doubtless question if Ghani can speak for the government when he hasn’t even resolved the vote. The prisoner releases are still the biggest deal.

The Taliban has reported sending a delegation to Bagram to oversee the first prisoner releases, and while that’s a good first step, getting to the 5,000 prisoners they were promised is likely to take a long time. It will likely also be used as a test of the government’s ability to deliver on promises.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.