“U.S. and Taliban representatives will meet soon for the first time to begin what are expected to be long and complex negotiations for a peaceful settlement to the war in Afghanistan.” The U.S. entered Afghanistan to topple the Taliban from power and end their influence in the country. So these talks in themselves constitute an admission of failure.
“US, Taliban to meet in Qatar for ‘key milestone’ toward ending Afghanistan war,” by Jim Miklaszewski, Courtney Kube and Erin McClam, NBC News, June 18:
U.S. and Taliban representatives will meet soon for the first time to begin what are expected to be long and complex negotiations for a peaceful settlement to the war in Afghanistan, senior Obama administration officials said Tuesday.
The officials told NBC News that the meeting will take place in the next several days in the Qatari capital of Doha. The Taliban will open an office there for the purpose of negotiating directly with the Afghan government, the officials said. A precise date was not announced.
“This is a key milestone on the way to the complete transition of responsibility for security to Afghans by the end of next year,” a senior U.S. administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said via conference call after the announcement was made.
The news came after months of failed attempts to start peace talks, while Taliban insurgents continued attacks throughout Afghanistan.
The negotiating conditions require the Taliban to break their ties with al Qaeda, end the violence and accept the Afghan constitution, especially the protections for women and minorities, the officials said.
But because of deep distrust between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the process will be “complex, long and messy,” one official said. The officials emphasized that expectations were low, but said the opening of Doha office was a crucial step for Afghanistan.
“We have long said that this conflict will likely not be won on the battlefield, and that is why we support the opening of this office,” said one senior administration official.
As for the American government’s role in the talks, the United States “will have a role in direct talks, but this is a negotiation that will have to be led by Afghans,” another said.
The disclosure came on the same day that international forces, led by the United States, handed control of Afghan national security to local forces “” a milestone after almost 12 years of war. Most foreign combat troops will leave the country by the end of 2014.
Obama administration officials also told NBC News that the U.S. is pursuing a prisoner exchange with the Taliban to secure the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held for several years by the Haqqani network, considered a dangerous element of the Taliban….