Earlier this week, the Afghan government held what they called “the start of the first ever official peace talks” between itself and the Taliban leaders in Afghanistan. The “peace talks” are an attempt to curb the violence that the war-torn country has seen for so many years. The talks took place at a resort in the hills of Pakistan. Officials of the United States and China were also in attendance.
As the talks are intended to lead to a more peaceful situation, all participant nations have agreed to “create an environment conducive for peace and reconciliation”, as Pakistani government officials stated Wednesday. All of this comes after Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan President, finally sought dialogue with the Taliban after much urge from the United States. The nation’s leaders are expected to meet again after Ramadan, an Islamic holy month.
Although it is still unknown what the outcome of the discussion will be, the United States and other nations involved are hopeful of the results as they could mean an end or ease to the death destruction that has plagued Afghanistan for so many years. Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary, shared the Obama Administration’s feelings on the issue as he stated, “This is an important step in advancing prospects for a credible peace”.
The talks hold a lot of weight as the Taliban forces in Afghanistan grow stronger and begin to spread. This comes at the same time that troops of the US and NATO begin reducing their numbers in Afghanistan. The Afghan Foreign Ministry also weighed in on the matter stating that they have hopes these meetings are a starting point to a peaceful future in their home country.
The United States ended their combat mission in Afghanistan earlier the previous year yet still play a role in supporting the Afghan troops against the Taliban. The same goes for the remaining NATO troops that are only there to train and support other troops. Both officials of the US and NATO hope that this empowerment of the Afghan resistance against the Taliban will produce a political reconciliation.
The UN’s secretary general’s special representative for Afghanistan, Nicholas Haysom shared his thoughts on the matter saying that “peace is not a luxury” but a “necessity”. Many fear that the Taliban will withhold from the peace talks in an effort to gain a better negotiating position in the future. In the past, peace talks with the Taliban haven’t always lived up to the hype. The US and Afghan leaders look to the next meeting with the Taliban to help move closer to peace agreements.