Issue Brief on “Afghan Peace Talks at A Standstill – Yet Again”

On September 7, 2019, President Trump tweeted that a secret meeting with the Taliban, and a separate meeting between him and President Ghani at Camp David had been cancelled over the Taliban killing a US soldier.[1] As a result, Trump declared on September 9, 2019 that the talks with the Taliban were effectively “dead” as killing a US soldier to get the “upper hand” in negotiations was going too far.[2]

Despite two decades of bloody conflict in Afghanistan, the last few months had seen rekindled hope for a political solution being reached in the Afghan conflict. From July 7-8, 2019, Taliban leaders and members of the Ghani government, although in an unofficial capacity, met for the first time in the intra-Afghan Doha conference where both sides agreed to a reduction of violence.[3] Following the 9th round of direct talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha on September 2, 2019 Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation had declared that the US and Taliban had “an agreement in principle”.[4]It seemed like the complex Afghan jigsaw was finally coming together and political peace was right around the corner.

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