Afghanistan Government And Taliban Agree To Peace Talks (REPORT)

( The government of Afghanistan has come to an agreement with the Taliban on a rules framework for peace talks.

After a back-and-forth for the last two months, the two sides came to the agreement. Now, they will attempt to sit down and negotiate peace after almost 20 years of fighting a civil war.

Qatar will be the host of the peace talks while fighting still rages on in Afghanistan. American troops are withdrawing from the region, too, per the recent instructions of President Donald Trump.

There are some people who are criticizing the peace talks as nothing more than a delay tactic for the insurgents. They believe that they are just trying to stretch out the time of the war, and will look to take control of all of Afghanistan once more American military personnel leave the area.

By January, there will be only roughly 2,500 American troops stationed in Afghanistan, per Trump’s orders. That less than one-quarter of the total number of troops stationed there last year at this time.

Those U.S. military personnel who do remain in the country will hold “a couple” main bases as well as a few satellite bases, according to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley.

Heiko Maas, who serves as the foreign minister of Germany, warned other members of NATO that they shouldn’t withdraw too many troops from the country too early, as it could jeopardize the potential success of the peace talks.

Still, there are plenty of people who are hopeful of actual peace agreements coming out of the discussions.

One person who will be a part of Afghanistan’s delegation to the talks, Nader Nadery, said it’s a “significant step forward” just agreeing on a framework for the peace talks. The next step, he said to the Guardian, is to create an official agenda for the talks.

He said:

“We are starting on that part on Saturday onwards. We are looking to create a balance between the sense of urgency and avoiding rushing through.”

The effort to try to come together on peace talks began back in September. Talks didn’t go well at first, though, as the sides argued over who was trying to fix the terms of the talks.

Some of the differences between the two sides were so picky that it highlighted just how fundamentally different their principles are. The Afghan government and Taliban had very differing viewpoints about what the country should look like, and how it should operate, in the future.

One of the apparent main differences is which school of Islamic jurisprudence should be used in case there’s a dispute. The Afghan government was insisting on having the system recognize the ethnic and religious minorities of the country. This includes the Shia population as well as the shrinking number of Hindus and Sikhs.

The Taliban, on the other hand, wanted the starting point of the talks to be the withdrawal agreement it signed back in February with America. But the Afghan government preferred to have a more diplomatic (and democratic) base for the negotiations.

There’s still plenty of work to be done, but it at least seems the two sides are willing to talk — for now.