Key Negotiators Absent as Afghan Peace Talks in Doha Start Slow

Negotiators on both sides accused of putting personal interests before talks

Four days in, the Doha negotiations for Afghanistan are still showing no sign of progress, with the absence of top negotiators on both sides potentially a major obstacle to making big deals.

Top two Taliban negotiators Mullah Hakim and Mullah Baradar are still in Pakistan, while several of the Afghan officials have not returned, and are accused of putting personal issues before the talks.

Facing a critical stage for talks, the need to get an agenda set for the peace process is more critical than ever. Some absent negotiators say they are carrying out talks from abroad, and “will return soon.”

The Taliban had already submitted its agenda for the talks, while the government is demanding an immediate ceasefire. The Taliban says they want other assurances first, suggesting that the deal wouldn’t even need a ceasefire.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.