As Afghan President Hamid Karzai accepted the reins of his own country’s security from U.S.-led coalition forces Tuesday, the Taliban announced that it’s prepared to join the United States and Afghanistan at the negotiation table to discuss peace in the region. They also agreed to at least discuss the possibility of severing ties with al-Qaida.
“[W]e’ve long had a demand on the Taliban that they make a statement that distances themselves from the movement from international terrorism, but made clear that we didn’t expect immediately for them to break ties with al-Qaida, because that’s an outcome of the negotiation process,” a senior administration official told reporters according to The Washington Examiner.
U.S. – Taliban peace talks are scheduled to begin Thursday in Dona, Qatar, according to a Reuters tweet.
I can only assume the Taliban negotiators will be asked to check their rocket propelled grenades in at the door.
“So the statement that we expect today is this first step in distancing them, distancing the movement from international terrorism. But it’s not as far as [we] will demand them to go at the end of the process.”
Stated differently, the United States is prepared to enter into peace talks with the Taliban, although they have not renounced al-Qaida. If they haven’t yet renounced their ties with al-Qaida, how could any peace negotiations be taken seriously?
President Obama said Tuesday, “This is an important step towards reconciliation, although its an early step, we anticipate there will be lots of bumps in road. But the fact that the parties have talked and discussed Afghan future that is very important,” according to ABC News.
Bumps in the road? He anticipates bumps in the road?
A year ago in May, President Obama said in a joint press announcement with Karzai that they were ushering in “a future in which the war ends, and a new chapter begins.” He also noted at that time that the administration was in direct negotiations with the Taliban. As Obama winged his way back home, two explosions erupted in Kabul, killing six and wounding 17. The Taliban immediately took credit for the suicide bombings, according to Yahoo News.
More recently, within hours of the announcement that peace talks are scheduled in Qatar Thursday, Taliban forces engaged in a rocket attack, killing four U.S. troops.
That’s our experience with negotiating with the Taliban.
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