Afghan government talks with Taliban stalled

The deal announced on February 29th by the Trump administration with the Taliban had as a major feature that in return for the US withdrawing all its troops from that country in 14 months, the Afghan government would release 5,000 Taliban prisoners and the Taliban would issue ‘security guarantees’ (whatever that means) and pledge to begin talks with the Afghan government (whatever that means). But the US did not include the Afghan government in the negotiations and now it looks like there is a problem that has prevented the talks from beginning on March 10th.

The Afghan government has postponed its plan to release Taliban prisoners, a senior official said, a decision that could sabotage a peace deal signed last month between the armed group and the United States.

Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said on Saturday the releases were being delayed because more time was needed to review the list of Taliban prisoners.

Earlier this week, President Ashraf Ghani announced that 1,500 Taliban prisoners would be freed as a “gesture of goodwill” in an attempt to resolve one of the long-running disputes that had roiled talks with the armed group.

Ghani’s decree said the government would release 1,500 captives starting Saturday if the insurgents cut violence, with plans to free another 3,500 prisoners after negotiations begin.

The Taliban rejected the offer and demanded the release of nearly 5,000 captives, citing it as one of the conditions behind the US-Taliban deal signed last month that excluded Kabul.

The fact that there are two people claiming to be the legitimate Afghan president is not helping. It is not clear if the Trump administration is concerned enough about the deal unraveling that it will intervene or whether it is so consumed with dealing with the pandemic that they ignore this issue.


  1. jrkrideau says

    It is not clear that the Trump administration knows anything. I wonder if most of them can find Afghanistan on a map.

  2. says

    “Safety guarantees” means that the government will be allowed to grab everything they can carry, and run without being shot. The Taliban are only making that deal because they have to -- it’s temporary.

  3. bmiller says

    “Calling the Year 1975. Your frantic helicopter escape footage from Saigon is needed for my YouTube Channel”!

    It’s sad. As bad as the current “Afghani” government is, the Taliban will be once again a horror show. Too bad the Sainted Peanut Farmer and craven right wing Democrats conspired against the left wing government the Soviets were supporting back in the glory day.

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