To End the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. Reaches Out to Its Rivals

Oct 30, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

U.S. soldiers look out over the hillsides of an Afghan army checkpoint in Afghanistan's Wardak province on June 6, 2019.

U.S. soldiers look out over the hillsides of an army checkpoint in the Afghan province of Wardak on June 6, 2019.



  • The prospects of a U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan has compelled both China and Russia to take a more active role in the peace negotiations.
  • In doing so, Moscow and Beijing are also forging stronger relations with the Taliban, which the United States will try to leverage to ensure the insurgents uphold their end of an eventual peace deal.

As the United States searches for an exit from Afghanistan, its outreach to China and Russia points to its rivals' growing influence in shaping the endgame to its longest-ever conflict. On Oct. 25, U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visited Moscow to discuss reviving the Afghan peace process with Russian, Chinese and Pakistani officials. China is also expected to host Taliban and Afghan government officials for talks next month. A political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban remains the ultimate goal of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. And if and when that settlement is reached, it will likely include the insurgents joining a future power-sharing agreement in Kabul, which has, in turn, prompted China and Russia to establish stronger relations with the Taliban as well to advance their own counterterrorism objectives in the country. But as long as the United States maintains a military presence in Afghanistan, the prospects for lasting peace in the war-torn...

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