Stories by Michael Kugelman

Expert Voices

Afghan-Taliban talks advance with "roadmap" to peace

inside the meeting room of the intra Afghan talks in Doha on July 7–8
The intra-Afghan dialogue talks in Doha, Qatar, on July 7. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

A weekend dialogue in Doha, Qatar, between rival factions of Afghanistan's volatile politics and the Taliban has yielded a joint statement calling for an end to war.

Why it matters: The fledgling Afghanistan peace process is gaining critical momentum. Although the conference statement represents a vague roadmap rather than a firm agreement, the consensus reached arguably marks the biggest step yet toward a long-elusive peace.

Expert Voices

Modi’s election victory likely to extend strong U.S.–India ties

Narendra Modi with a large floral garland
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrating with BJP workers. Photo: Atul Loke/Getty Images

The triumph of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India's national elections, which gives Narendra Modi another 5 years as prime minister, should be a largely positive outcome for U.S. foreign policy.

The big picture: Washington has come to regard India, with Modi at the helm, as a key partner in Asia, particularly since the Trump administration rolled out its Indo-Pacific strategy. U.S. and Indian security interests strongly align over countering the threat of terrorism in South Asia and China’s deepening footprint across Asia.

Expert Voices

Advances in U.S.–Taliban peace talks offer cause for cautious optimism

Zalmay Khalilzad speaks and gestures from a table with mics
Zalmay Khalilzad, the former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq who is leading negotiations with the Taliban. Photo: Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images

After failing to produce the blueprint of a deal in many previous talks, the U.S. and the Taliban have now agreed in principle to a framework that would provide a Taliban guarantee that Afghan soil wouldn’t be used by terrorists — followed by the possibility of a U.S. troop withdrawal and Taliban concessions that include a cease-fire and agreement to hold formal negotiations with Kabul.

Why it matters: This isn’t just a case of several Taliban factions trying to test the waters and seeing what the U.S. has to offer. The Taliban has sent several of its top leaders to the negotiations — high-ranking officials who would not show up just for informal chats with the Americans.