Taliban Won’t Attend Peace Talks Until US Leaves Afghanistan

Biden's delay in pullout puts peace process on hold

It is an announcement that’s been coming for awhile, but in pushing back the final Afghanistan withdrawal date from May 1 to 9/11, the Biden Administration finally clarified its expectations on America’s longest war and threw another spanner in the works of the peace process which may make future dates tougher to deal with.

The effort to sell everyone on this pullout delay is that the peace process is behind schedule. The Istanbul conference was meant to kickstart that process, but that’s not going to happen now, because the Taliban is boycotting all such conferences until the US makes good on withdrawing.

This puts the whole process into serious doubt, as it’s not clear how an Afghan peace deal can be reached without getting the Taliban to the table, and delaying the pullout is keeping the Taliban away, a predictable result.

It’s not impossible that they will be able to engage the Taliban more seriously in the future, but this probably depends on the newly set September 11 date being taken seriously, and not just as another step down the road.

That’s a tough sell, because it seems unlikely anything will happen from May to September. If Biden wanted to lay the groundwork for staying in Afghanistan, it’s hard to see how he could’ve done so more easily than by reneging on the first date, and setting a second date that’s designed to fail.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. 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.