Nineteen years after the 9/11 attacks took place by the terror group they hosted, the Taliban will finally come to the table to discuss peace in the war that those events initiated. The Afghan government followed through on an agreement to release six prisoner of war and allow them to travel to Qatar under house arrest. That will provide the requisite act of good faith needed to commence the first official peace talks in the 19-year civil war.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Doha as a facilitator, but Donald Trump’s statements and actions will likely have more impact:
Following the arrival of the prisoners in Doha, the Taliban announced that it was ready to begin official, direct peace talks with the Afghan government. Taliban spokesman Muhammad Naeem Wardak said in a tweet that the initial meeting would be held Saturday in Doha.
The announcements follow six months of delays, most recently over a handful of high-value Taliban prisoners accused of killing American, French and Australian nationals.
The talks were mandated by the deal signed by the United States and the Taliban in February and were to have begun in March. Political turmoil in Kabul and escalating violence countrywide have also contributed to delays.