What Happened: Afghan national security adviser Hamdullah Mohib has reportedly criticized the U.S. practice of not including the Afghan government in its current peace talks with the Taliban, Reuters reported March 14.
Why It Matters: Although Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has previously expressed his dissatisfaction with the exclusion of his government from peace talks, Mohib's remarks are the most pointed criticism of U.S. policy thus far. The comments also highlight the challenge for Washington of maintaining a balance between including Kabul and keeping the Taliban engaged in the talks, as the group has repeatedly stated it is not ready for direct talks with the Afghan government.
Background: Negotiators from the United States and the Taliban recently concluded their fifth round of talks in Doha, Qatar. U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad announced via Twitter on March 12 that both sides had made progress toward a draft agreement that includes a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and a Taliban pledge to counter terrorism.
- Familiar Issues Cloud the Prospects for Afghan Peace (Feb. 26, 2019)
- The Endgame to Afghanistan's Long War Takes Shape (Jan. 30, 2019)
- Tracking Jihadist Movements in 2019: The Taliban and Grassroots Militants (Jan. 24, 2019)