Peace progress? Qatar gives Taliban an office address
The Taliban, US, and Afghan officials have agreed to the let the Taliban set up an office in Qatar, providing a historic avenue for direct talks.
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“The problem with talking to the Taleban is not so much an issue of an unknown address but of access to them which is controlled, restricted and instrumentalised by Pakistan. It is a matter of political will, on Pakistan’s part, whether it allows talks to happen – or whether it tries to block talks. The address has been there, but someone has simply been standing in front of the doorbell.”Skip to next paragraph
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Though talks appear to be getting under way now that the Taliban have laid the groundwork for an office in a neutral location, violence in Afghanistan is unlikely to abate. In the interest of negotiating from a position of strength, both NATO and Taliban commanders will want to show battlefield gains and military strength.
One indication that fighting may actually increase comes in the form of new reports that the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban have forged an alliance that will bring members of the Pakistani group into Afghanistan to fight against NATO forces. Previously, the Pakistani Taliban avoided sending fighters to Afghanistan in the interest of fighting to topple its own government, reports McClatchy.
The alliance could indicate that the Afghan Taliban is weak after suffering considerable losses this past year or that it is seeking to inflict the maximum amount of damage possible on NATO to improve its position at the table.
“For God’s sake, forget all your differences and give us fighters to boost the battle against America in Afghanistan,” senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Yahya al-Libi told Pakistani fighters during a meeting to discuss the alliance, a militant who attended the meetings, according to the Associated Press.
IN PICTURES: Afghanistan in winter