Since being overthrown in 2001 after the invasion of US forces, the Taliban have refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, choosing instead to hold talks with representatives from Washington.
A landmark peace deal signed between the militant organization and the United States on 29 February set the stage for intra-Afghan talks, although the staging of negotiations would rest on both sides complying with a prisoner exchange agreement.
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has already arrived in the Qatari capital to attend the talks, describing them as a “historic opportunity for Afghanistan” to bring “four decades of war and bloodshed” to an end.
The intra-Afghan talks have been delayed multiple times, as both the government in Kabul and the militant organization have disagreed over the ongoing release of prisoners. In that time, the Taliban have continued to target civilians in bomb blasts and conduct ambushes on military outposts. The Afghan military has also continued its attempts to neutralize members of the militant group.
The peace talks are expected to be wide-ranging, and the international community will be keen observers. The Afghan government and the Taliban will address the possibility of ensuring a long-lasting ceasefire, issues related to the country’s constitution, and a range of social matters, including women’s rights.
Both parties have managed to arrive at the negotiating table, but it remains to be seen if they will come to any sort of…