After a long delay in the Afghan peace process, negotiators representing the Taliban and the US-backed Afghan government met in Doha on Friday.
Friday marked the second day of a ceasefire between the warring sides for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, although violations have been reported. The Afghan government has floated the idea of making the Eid ceasefire permanent, an idea many ordinary war-weary Afghans are in favor of.
The Taliban has said they would boycott an upcoming Afghan peace summit in Istanbul because President Biden broke the US-Taliban peace deal by pushing back the original May 1st withdrawal deadline to September 11th. But the US and the Taliban are reportedly in talks to get foreign troops out by July in return for the Taliban attending the Istanbul summit.
The Afghan government has put forward many different peace proposals and ideas for power-sharing agreements. It’s not clear what a potential power-sharing government would look like, but the fact that the warring sides are talking again is a good sign.
Earlier this week, US Central Command said the withdrawal from Afghanistan is about six to 12 percent complete, although the command is not disclosing troop numbers. On Thursday, the US handed over its base at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan to the Afghan government.