Afghan peace talks open in Doha, 19 years after 9/11 triggered war

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani attend the signing of a US-Taliban settlement in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020. – Washington and the Taliban are set to signal a landmark deal in Doha that will see them conform to the withdrawal of 1000’s of US troops from Afghanistan in return for rebel ensures.

The opening ceremony for talks between the Afghan authorities and Taliban insurgents started in Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday, marking the beginning of negotiations geared toward ending 20 years of war that has killed tens of 1000’s of combatants and civilians.

The 19-year battle can also be the United States’ longest abroad army motion, vexing three successive presidents.

The ceremony started at 9 a.m. (0600 GMT) with a recitation from the Koran, adopted by opening feedback by Qatar’s international minister.

Major gamers in the method, together with Afghanistan’s peace council chairman Abdullah Abdullah and Taliban chief Mullah Baradar Akhund, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are additionally scheduled to talk.

Officials, diplomats, and analysts say that though getting either side to the negotiating desk was an achievement, this doesn’t imply the trail to peace will likely be simple.

“The negotiations will have to tackle a range of profound questions about the kind of country Afghans want,” Deborah Lyons, the United Nations particular consultant for Afghanistan, instructed the U.N Security Council this month.

The inauguration ceremony comes someday after the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 assaults on the United States that triggered its army involvement in Afghanistan.

U.S. forces intervened in Afghanistan on the orders of President George W. Bush a month after the assaults to seek out their mastermind, Osama bin Laden, a Saudi who had been given sanctuary by the nation’s radical Islamist Taliban rulers. They initially supplied primarily air help to the Taliban’s native enemies.

Although the Taliban regime was rapidly toppled, they regrouped and have since waged an insurgency that has sucked in Afghanistan’s neighbors and troops from dozens of nations, together with NATO forces.

Negotiations to the dealer a complete peace deal have been envisaged in a troop withdrawal pact signed between the United States and the Taliban in February in an try to discover a political settlement to finish the war.

After months of delay, a dispute over the Taliban’s demand for the discharge of 5,000 prisoners was resolved this week.

Ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November, President Donald Trump is seeking to present progress in his pledge to finish the U.S. involvement and pull out a lot of the international forces stationed in Afghanistan.

The United States has diminished its troop ranges and by November is predicted to have fewer than 5,000 troopers in Afghanistan, down from about 13,000 when the U.S.-Taliban deal was signed. More than 2,300 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, and about 450 British troopers.

A European diplomat in Kabul mentioned ceasefire — which the Taliban have thus far rejected — ought to high the speaker’s agenda.

“The Taliban leaders will have to stop fighters from attacking Afghan forces and civilians, violence continues to degrade the atmosphere and potentially derail negotiations,” the diplomat mentioned.

How to incorporate the Taliban, who reject the legitimacy of the Western-backed Afghan authorities, in any governing association and methods to safeguard the rights of girls and minorities who suffered beneath Taliban rule are large challenges, specialists mentioned.

Nevertheless, many diplomats, victims of violence, and members of civil society say negotiations are the one lifelike approach to carry a finish to a battle that has killed greater than 100,000 civilians and hampered Afghanistan’s growth, leaving thousands and thousands in poverty.

“Solutions will not be found on the battlefield, we know this,” Lyons mentioned.

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