Taliban Won’t Attend Turkey Conference If Held This Week

Date still not decided for key Istanbul meeting

Weeks of expectation of the high-profile Istanbul conference had all suggested one of a handful of starting dates, all this week. With no decisions made, the Taliban has warned they will no longer be able to attend if it turns out to be this week.

Taliban spokesmen said they’d already told Turkey they couldn’t attend, even if the conference started on Friday, but that they are open to attending if it happens at a later date.

The conference was meant to try to kickstart new peace proposals, including from Afghan officials, the US, and the Taliban. It was also intended to discuss the US pullout by May, as the peace deal agreed to.

The US has indicated that the May 1 deadline won’t be met, and is seeking a 3-6 month extension. The Taliban is pushing for on-time pullout, and that’s one reason to not have the talks delayed too much. At the same time, it would be important to set the date ahead of time so the relevant parties are able to attend.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.