Jul 18, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Afghan peace talks resume ahead of Eid al-Adha holiday

Three men seated at a conference table onstage

The head of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, Qatar's envoy on counter-terrorism Mutlaq al-Qahtani, and the leader of the Taliban negotiating team Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha on July 18. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images

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 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.
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