Dec 7, 2019

U.S. and Taliban restart peace talks in Qatar

Taliban leaders during peace talks in Qatar
Taliban leaders during peace talks with the U.S. in July in Qatar. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. and the Taliban reopened peace talks in Qatar on Saturday, nearly three months after President Trump abruptly called diplomatic negotiations off, Al Jazeera reports.

Why it matters: These renewed efforts are key to paving the way for direct talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul to end a more than 18-year war, AP notes. The first goal for the U.S. is to encourage the Taliban to reduce violence, and ultimately agree to a permanent cease fire. The group has carried out numerous deadly attacks since talks fell apart earlier this year.

The state of play:

  • Taliban leaders have refused to meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani so far, calling him a "puppet of the U.S.," AP writes.
  • Afghanistan is facing an election standoff between Ghani and Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah over allegations of corruption and misconduct in the Sept. 28 elections. The government is currently at a standstill as the two leaders try to share power, but continue to bicker, per Al Jazeera.

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