At long last, the first direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began Saturday in Doha, Qatar.
The actual face-to-face negotiations to end the nation’s nearly two-decades old conflict — which stem from a conditional peace agreement reached in February between the United States and the Taliban — will start Monday, but during Saturday’s opening ceremony, Abdullah Abdullah, the chair of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, said “if we give hands to each other and honestly work for peace, the current ongoing misery in the country will end.”
Taliban Deputy Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar also made brief remarks, reiterating the Taliban’s demand for an “independent, developed” Afghanistan with an “Islamic system” of government “where all its citizens see themselves reflected.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is in Doha, called the start of the talks a “truly momentous occasion” and told the Afghan sides “the choice of your political system is, of course, yours to make.”
All things considered, Al Jazeera reports, Saturday’s ceremony was full of “hope and positivity,” but when the sides get down to the nitty gritty and discuss issues like women’s rights and the country’s democratic constitutions, the stark contrast between them will likely become more apparent. In short, there’s a long way to go. Read more at Al Jazeera and The Wall Street Journal. Tim O’Donnell
We’ve witness tremendous amount of hope and positivity today, but as both sides get in to the details of attempting to solve issues on ground, we might face differences.
Here we discuss what’s at stake. https://t.co/xc1qDvMO1W
— Shereena Qazi (@ShereenaQazi) September 12, 2020
Originally published: 2020-09-12 09:29:00