The peace talks went on uninterrupted, a marathon session for six intense days, yet barely a moment in a war that has lasted so much longer.
Still, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad emerged from the negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar last month with a message of hope, choosing to broadcast his message via a social media platform that didn’t even exist when the conflict in Afghanistan began.
Having assumed his assignment to end the longest war in American history, Khalilzad was upbeat. He went so far as to signal during a recent interview with a local television station in Kabul that “it is possible” to reach a peace deal with the Taliban before this year’s presidential elections in Afghanistan – now delayed until July.
Taliban peace negotiators have said they are committed to guaranteeing women their rights under Islam – but failed to dispel fears that any deal will lead to a roll-back of the fragile freedoms gained by women in the past 17 years.
US and Taliban negotiators have agreed on a draft framework for a peace deal seeking to put an end to the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan, Washington’s top negotiator has said.
US negotiators held six days of talks with the Taliban in Qatar last week.
The Afghan president has made a new call for direct talks with the Islamist group, but they have so far refused, dismissing the government as “puppets”.
The group ruled the country from 1996-2001 and remain a top insurgent force.
Taliban officials said U.S. negotiators on Saturday agreed a draft peace deal stipulating the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan within 18 months of the agreement being signed.
The details were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the United States’ longest war.
While neither side released an official statement, Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made “significant progress” and would resume shortly, adding that he planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials.
And what will change when their gone? Nothing beyond an increase in murder for Allah. It is and will remain an Islamist shithole nation likely to spawn terror attacks on the west.
The Taliban have launched a major attack on an Afghan military compound in central Maidan Wardak province, officials have said, with some putting the death toll at more than 100 people.
Monday’s incident at a campus of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) is the latest in a series of deadly attacks in recent months by the Taliban, which has seized control of about half of Afghanistan.
The Afghan authorities said the attack started on Monday morning, when a US-made armoured Humvee vehicle was driven into the compound and blown up. Gunmen also opened fire, before being killed by security forces.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — The Afghan Taliban last week stalled peace talks with the U.S.after the American delegation demanded the militant group announce a ceasefire and release a U.S. academic it is holding, four senior Taliban officials told NBC News.
A Taliban commander in Afghanistan’s Helmand province said U.S. negotiators had “asked us to first release the American professor whom we kidnapped after an attack on American University in Kabul.”
Like other militants NBC News interviewed, he spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to comment on negotiations.
Bizarre footage has emerged purportedly showing Taliban fighters being put through their paces in a training exercises.
Masked men are shown in a video – said to have been captured in Afghanistan – leaping through burning hoops, sparring with wooden sticks and struggling through group press-up routines.
They can also be seen performing leap-frogs over the shoulders of their fellow ‘fighters’ in the clip, which has not been verified.
Bizarre? Maybe but the Taliban face little difficulty against government troops.
The young Afghan man never thought a 15-minute visit with an American reporter to a glittering wedding celebration in Kabul could have such long-standing and potentially lethal consequences – or yield a Taliban plan to kill him.
Abdullah did not even leave the parking lot that fateful night, three years ago. But he had driven the American in his car, and, at the ethnic Pashtun wedding, Taliban insurgents were among the hundreds in attendance.
The result has been an abject lesson in the Taliban intelligence’s depth of penetration in the Afghan capital, and in the long memories and scale of antipathy these Islamist militants hold against Western-leaning Afghans and those they consider spies and traitors.
A Muslim cleric known as the ‘Father of the Taliban’ after his university helped to launch the Islamist movement has been assassinated in Pakistan.
Sami ul-Haq, whose Darul Uloom Haqqania university in Pakistan counts much of the Afghan movement’s leadership among its former students, was killed on Friday although details are not yet clear.
His son Maulana Hamidul Haq said the religious leader had been stabbed to death in his room in Rawalpindi, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.
Five members of the Afghan Taliban who were freed from the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay in exchange for captured American army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have joined the insurgent group’s political office in Qatar, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday.
The Pentagon has confirmed that a US general was shot and wounded in a Taliban attack that killed two Afghan leaders in Kandahar province this week.
Violence has increased around the Afgan elections. Army Brig Gen Jeffrey Smiley was shot, Department of Defense spokesman Cmdr Grant W Neeley said on Sunday, providing no other details.
The Washington Post reported earlier that Smiley was recovering after suffering at least one gunshot wound while inside the Kandahar governor’s compound.
Oops! 16 Taliban militants blown up by own explosives in Ghazni province
At least sixteen Taliban militants were killed in an explosion triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in southeastern Ghazni province.
The provincial Police Commandment in a statement said the incident has taken place in the vicinity of the restive Qarabagh district.
ISLAMABAD — Officials in Afghanistan confirmed Monday a Taliban prisoner has killed at least eight policemen, including three senior officers, after covertly seizing an assault rifle from a guard at the detention facility in southern Zabul province.
The incident happened while security guards were offering evening prayers late Sunday at the Shar-e-Safa district jail, a police officer told VOA. Ghulam Jilani said the assailant sprayed the unarmed group of personnel with bullets. The officer promised to provide more details later in the day.
A security official in Shar-e-Safa, disclosed to VOA on the condition of anonymity that Afghan forces swiftly engaged the armed prisoner and the firefight with him continued into Monday morning.
Donald Trump has reportedly ordered American envoys to seek direct talks with the Taliban to end the country’s longest ever war, in a major shift after years of US diplomatic policy on the conflict.
The change in White House stance rolls back a long-held position that any talks must be led and controlled by the Afghan government.
The White House has now told diplomats to seek initial talks with the militant insurgent movement to try to kick start a wider peace process to end the 17-year-long conflict, the New York Times reported.
Bear in mind the initial “report” was in the New York Times.
As Afghanistan edged ever closer to becoming a narco-state five years ago, a team of veteran U.S. officials in Kabul presented the Obama administration with a detailed plan to use U.S. courts to prosecute the Taliban commanders and allied drug lords who supplied more than 90 percent of the world’s heroin — including a growing amount fueling the nascent opioid crisis in the United States.
The plan, according to its authors, was both a way of halting the ruinous spread of narcotics around the world and a new — and urgent — approach to confronting ongoing frustrations with the Taliban, whose drug profits were financing the growing insurgency and killing American troops. But the Obama administration’s deputy chief of mission in Kabul, citing political concerns, ordered the plan to be shelved, according to a POLITICO investigation.