Friction among Taliban pragmatists, hard-liners intensifies
The friction between pragmatists and ideologues in the Taliban leadership has intensified since the group formed a hard-line Cabinet last week that is more in line with their harsh rule in the 1990s than their recent promises of inclusiveness.
Taliban expect US withdrawal, vow to restore Islamic rule
The Taliban warned Washington against defying a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan promising a "reaction". He also reaffirmed that the Taliban were firm on their demand for an Islamic government. The Taliban, who during their rule imposed a harsh brand of Islam, now control about half of the country. The joint statement emphasized that the four countries do not support the restoration of an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan similar to the Taliban's past rule. Shaheen emphasized that the Taliban would stick to the goal of building an Islamic state.
Russia hosts Afghan peace conference, hoping to boost talks
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, center, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for an international peace conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)MOSCOW – Russia hosted a peace conference for Afghanistan on Thursday, bringing together government representatives, the Taliban and international observers in a bid to help jump-start the country's stalled peace process. Moscow’s attempt at mediation comes as talks in Qatar between the Afghan government and the Taliban, still waging an insurgency, have stalled. Washington and Kabul have been pressing for a cease-fire while the Taliban say they will negotiate it as part of peace talks with the Afghan government. Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan, told reporters that the Afghan participants in the talks showed willingness to negotiate peace.
EXPLAINER: Stakes high as Moscow opens 1st of 3 Afghan meets
Key players are attending, including U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, Afghan national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who will lead a 10-member delegation. America's main goal is an Afghanistan peace deal that guarantees its national security and that of its allies. The Afghan government is corrupt and morale is low among Afghan troops. The National Afghan Security Forces are rife with so-called ghost soldiers, who exist only on paper, while enlisted men often don't get paid. At least one member of the Senate subcommittee pointed out that all sides in the Afghan imbroglio are vulnerable.
Afghan peace talks resume, but path is anything but certain
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2020, file photo, Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, bottom right, speaks at the opening session of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. After more than a month of delays, escalating violence and a flurry of diplomatic activity peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government have resumed Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in the Middle Eastern State of Qatar. When talks ended abruptly in January, just days after beginning, both sides submitted their wish lists for agendas. The priority for the Afghan government, Washington and NATO is a serious reduction in violence leading to a cease fire. AdWashington is reviewing the February 2020 peace deal the previous Trump administration signed with the Taliban that calls for the final withdrawal of international forces by May 1.
Russia steps in, trying to aid stalled Afghan peace process
Kabulov was in Pakistan, a key regional player in efforts to find a peaceful end to Afghanistan's protracted war. Few details came out of the meeting except that Afghanistan and getting to a peace deal dominated talks. Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Afghanistan, was in Pakistan on Friday for talks with officials. AdWashington and Kabul have been pressing for a cease-fire while the Taliban say they will negotiate it as part of peace talks with the Afghan government. Few details came out of Kabulov's meetings except a statement saying that Afghanistan and efforts to reach a peace deal dominated the discussions.
Historic Afghan peace talks fraught with uncertainty
Taliban delegation arrive to attend the opening session of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020. The big hurdle is likely to be what to do with tens of thousands of armed Taliban fighters and the militias loyal to government-allied warlords. Taliban fighters have been battling the upstart affiliate, but the Taliban have already lost fighters to the radical militant Sunni Muslim group. Many Taliban fighters are disillusioned at their leaders entering peace negotiations and believe they could win militarily, with nearly 50% of the country already mostly in their control. Washington’s watchdog, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, has expressed concerns that Taliban fighters returning to their homes could be targeted by corrupt officials or threatened by authorities.
Critics of US-Taliban deal say militants can't be trusted
It did give critics of the deal another reason to say the Taliban shouldnt be trusted. So far the U.S. has reduced U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan from 12,000 to 8,600 a target reached ahead of schedule. Critics of the deal like Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., say the agreement is simply a cover for withdrawal.I have serious concerns with how this agreement has been pursued," Waltz said. I cant talk about the things that I have seen, Pompeo said on Fox News Channels Special Report. The U.N. report also reported six meetings between al-Qaida and Taliban senior leaders during the past 12 months while U.S.-Taliban talks were ongoing.
US, Russia share a complex and bloody history in Afghanistan
Moscow and Washington are intertwined in a complex and bloody history in Afghanistan, with both suffering thousands of dead and wounded in conflicts lasting for years. Now both superpowers are linked again over Afghanistan, with intelligence reports indicating Russia secretly offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops there. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo, File)ISLAMABAD Moscow and Washington are intertwined in a complex and bloody history in Afghanistan, with both suffering thousands of dead and wounded in conflicts lasting for years. Now both superpowers are linked again over Afghanistan, with intelligence reports indicating Russia secretly offered bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops there. Even as Russia and the U.S. vie for influence in Afghanistan, they are aligned in their opposition to IS.