Taliban peace talks: What to expect from the new round?

Media captionThe United States and the Taliban mark the signing of their agreement in Doha.

US and Taliban officials involved in the signing of a historic agreement in February in qatar studiously avoided referring to it as a “peace deal”.

Over the weeks that followed it was clear why. While attacks by the insurgents on international troops stopped, fighting with Afghan security forces continued.

The agreement set out a provisional timetable for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, providing the Taliban prevented international jihadist groups such as al-Qaeda from using their territory to attack the US or its allies.

It also committed the Taliban to beginning direct negotiations for the first time with the Afghan government and other Afghan leaders to try to reach a political settlement.

Those talks are now set to begin in qatar this week, aiming to put an end to two decades of war and the loss of thousands of lives. They were meant to begin in March, but instead were held up for months by wrangling over a prisoner exchange plan.

The US-Taliban agreement promised “up to 5,000” Taliban prisoners would be set free by the Afghan government ahead of the negotiations, in return for 1,000 members of the security forces held by the militants.

Continue Reading This Article At BBC News

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