Taliban Won’t Attend Istanbul Summit Without US Policy Change

Pakistan, Afghanistan have high hopes for Istanbul talks

Long awaited as a chance to get the peace process going again, the Istanbul summit for Afghanistan is finally set for Saturday, April 24. Unfortunately, this may be too late, as the situation has worsened in the past few weeks.

With the US having scrapped the May 1 pullout date in favor of September 11, the Taliban now say they will not attend the conference at all unless the US walks back its position on the pullout. Other parties are expected to attend.

There are still a lot of high hopes for the Istanbul talks, and even without the Taliban there are enough parties that some serious proposals could emerge. In that regard, the deal could still be improved upon without Taliban talks after the fact.

Still, Istanbul would’ve been more impactful weeks ago, when it was first being floated, and before the Biden Administration reneged on the pullout date and greatly muddied the waters on what will happen going forward. Though the process isn’t totally dead, it’s not in ideal shape.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.