‘Diplomacy for Peace’: Afghan Govt, Taliban Arrive for Talks

Pompeo Says Negotiations in Afghanistan Likely to Be 'Contentious'

The long-awaited intra-Afghan peace talks are set to begin Saturday in Qatar, with negotiating teams from the Afghan government and the Taliban having arrived in Doha. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will also be there.

Pompeo is predicting “contentious” talks, with the goal of a reconciled Afghanistan and an end to decades of war. This opportunity was hard-fought already, with long US-Taliban talks and then disputes with the government over prisoner releases dragging out talks which were meant to have happened months ago.

Many analysts are emphasizing the mistrust that remains between both sides, but there is clearly war fatigue in Afghanistan, and a lot of popular demand for peace. The big obstacle may be President Ghani downplaying the idea of power-sharing with the Taliban.

At the same time, the US drawdown continues to be ahead of schedule, and with very few troops intended to be left in the country in the near future, the Afghan government needs progress now, and start making a framework for a deal before they find themselves in a weaker negotiating position.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.