Taliban Invites Afghan Officials to Direct Talks

Officials claim Taliban is trying to sew discord

The Taliban continues to refuse to attend an Istanbul summit on peace talks, part of protesting against the US scrapping the May 1 pullout date. That doesn’t mean that the Taliban aren’t willing to continue the peace process, however.

Officials say that the Taliban have been sending letters to individual Afghan officials, past and president, including former President Hamid Karzai, inviting them to participate in direct talks on peace in Afghanistan.

Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the negotiation team, confirmed also getting a Taliban letter. His office, however, looked to spin the letters negatively, saying the Taliban mean to sow discord and that Afghan officials remain united.

That’s demonstrably untrue. When the summit was planned, Afghan parties submitted 25 separate peace plans, and the jirga council was struggling to combine those into some comprehensive peace proposal.

Indeed the whole reason the summit was going to happen in the first place was because the Afghan government is so disunited on the process. The Taliban seems broadly certain what they want out of a peace, which is the ouster of foreign troops. Some officials, however, are very resistant to a power-sharing interim government, and don’t want to let the Taliban into the political process.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.