Trump Administration exploring direct talks with Afghan Taliban

Senior Afghan and Pakistani officials welcomed the prospective effort to end longstanding conflict.

July 18, 2018 11:51
2 minute read.

US General says United States ready for talks with Afghan Taliban, July 16, 2018 (Reuters)

US General says United States ready for talks with Afghan Taliban, July 16, 2018 (Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


ISLAMABAD -The Trump administration is willing to hold direct talks with the Afghan Taliban in a bid to reach an elusive political solution to end the seventeen-years-long war.
The message was conveyed to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit last week to Kabul by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Government sources familiar with developments told The Media Line that Ghani welcomed the decision and assured Washington of his cooperation.
The US move is being construed as a tacit acknowledgment of the failure of its “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” peace plan.
In this respect, Ghani has been unable to coax the Taliban back to the negotiating table; this, as the group's territorial expansion risks negating hard-fought gains by the Afghan army within the context of an ongoing American-led NATO train and equip program.
Taliban commander Khan Wali confirmed to The Media Line that the organization's central leadership was already communicating with top American officials, adding that "you can expect a breakthrough soon."
Concurrently, Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, expressed cautious optimism, noting that he had not yet received final confirmation for direct talks. He nevertheless stressed that, “this is what we [the Taliban] have been waiting for."
Meanwhile, the head of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, US Army General John W. Nicholson Jr., backed the apparent development. "Secretary of State, Mr. Pompeo, has said that the United States is ready to hold negotiations with the Taliban and discuss the role of international forces. I’m sure it will help to move the peace process forward,” he told reporters in the Afghan capital.
Nevertheless, and perhaps evidencing the sensitivity and tenuous nature of the matter, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Islamabad suggested that Washington would only play a complimentary role in any potential initiative. "The United States is exploring all avenues to advance a peace process.… Any negotiations over the political future of Afghanistan will be between the Taliban and Afghan government," a statement issued to The Media Line read.
The Afghan Taliban has long maintained that it will only hold talks with the US government. In February, after months of escalating attacks, the group reiterated its call for direct negotiations to achieve a “peaceful solution” to the conflict.
The Trump administration's supposed new policy surprised many in Pakistan, where experts believe that such an approach could bear fruit if pursued purposefully.
“Since the US has been leading the war against terrorism for a long time, it must take responsibility over negotiations with either party to seek a peaceful solution," Sajad Hussain, Assistant Professor at Pakistan's Qaid I Azam University and an expert on defense, told The Media Line. "It is indeed a big news.”
Officials with knowledge of the proceedings revealed to The Media Line that the White House has for months been laying the foundation for talks in conjunction with regional leaders.
“Exclusive negotiations between the US and the Taliban will probably lead to a quadrilateral process including Afghan and Pakistani representatives,” a senior Afghan government official told The Media Line on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak about the issue.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein (C) appears in court where he pleaded guilty to two prostitution char
July 17, 2019
Jeffrey Epstein's treatment is 'worse' because of his wealth, his lawyers say


Cookie Settings