Taliban Willing to Attend Istanbul Summit on Afghanistan

Ceasefire gave opportunity for key talks at Doha

The Eid al-Fitr ceasefire didn’t lead to immediate peace, but it did offer an opportunity for a new round of talks in Doha, and that gives some sign that there is hope for the peace process going forward.

Next up is another bid at an Istanbul peace summit for Afghanistan. The Taliban refused this summit in the past after the US reneged on the pullout date, but now seems willing to attend. The Taliban says they don’t want Istanbul to be the end of things, but want to continue the Doha process.

Doha has long been the source of peace progress in Afghanistan, including the US-Taliban peace deal. The Taliban has kept a large negotiating team in Doha to handle negotiations with the US, the Ghani government, and others.

The Taliban is keen to keep the final peace deal internal to Afghan negotiators, and not driven by a “US agenda.” The US has been trying to get the two back together, and was reportedly floating the idea of bringing the pullout date back to July, which the Taliban would surely prefer to the current September date.

Istanbul has been a focus of hope for months, with several nations planning to attend with their own peace proposals. The Ghani government was said to be trying to reconcile as many as 25 different plans from various parties and factions.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.