Afghan peace talks resume ahead of Eid al-Adha holiday
Taliban leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhunzada said Sunday that the Taliban "strenuously favors a political settlement" in Afghanistan as the peace talks continue with the Afghan government delegation in Qatar, the Associated Press reports.
Why it matters: Despite how the conciliatory words may sound, no peace deal appears imminent. Taliban and government forces are still fighting in dozens of provinces across Afghanistan, per AP.
State of play: The Taliban has rapidly gained territory in Afghanistan since the United States began its military withdrawal, which will conclude on Aug. 31.
- The U.S. withdrawal has coincided with a marked uptick in violence and thousands of Afghans are fleeing to neighboring countries.
- The U.S. intelligence community has warned that the Afghan government could collapse as soon as next year as the Taliban's battlefield offensive grows.
The big picture: Meetings between the two sides took place over Saturday and Sunday, just days ahead of Eid al-Adha, which in many parts of the world begins Tuesday.
- U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had previously expressed hope for a possible ceasefire ahead of the holiday.