Guidance

Afghanistan Heads Toward a Turning Point

Jul 31, 2019 | 21:33 GMT
Mohammad Nabi Omari (C-L), a Taliban member formerly held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Taliban negotiator Abbas Stanikzai (C-R) and former Taliban intelligence deputy Mawlawi Abdul Haq Wasiq (R) walk with another Taliban member during the second day of the Intra-Afghan Dialogue talks in Doha on July 8, 2019.

Mohammad Nabi Omari (C-L), a Taliban member formerly held by the United States at Guantanamo Bay, Taliban negotiator Abbas Stanikzai (C-R) and former Taliban intelligence deputy Mawlawi Abdul Haq Wasiq (R) walk with another Taliban member during the second day of the Intra-Afghan Dialogue talks in Doha on July 8, 2019. Washington and the Taliban might be on the cusp of a peace deal in Afghanistan.

(KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Things are moving fast in Afghanistan. On July 31, Zalmay Khalilzad, the lead U.S. negotiator, tweeted that the United States is ready "to conclude the agreement" -- provided the Taliban "do their part." Khalilzad’s comments, which came ahead of the eighth round of talks between the United States and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, offer the strongest indication yet that the two parties are on the cusp of sealing a landmark peace deal to end their 18-year-long conflict. Just two days earlier, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said U.S President Donald Trump wanted a reduction in U.S. forces from Afghanistan ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. Though a peace deal appears imminent, this juncture provides the perfect opportunity to look at what's driving the three most likely outcomes to the contentious, 10-month-long peace process: namely a collapse in talks, a continuation of negotiations and fighting alike -- that is, the...

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