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Afghanistan Peace Deal? Mission Impossible Now Seems Very Likely

Taliban chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad

War-torn Afghanistan has not seen any peace since the 1970s, and the US involvement in the Afghanistan quagmire is in its 18th year, but there is growing momentum towards a peace deal.

The current negotiations in Doha between the Taliban and the US are the longest ever between the two sides and the optimism is very strong on both sides about the opportunity to reach a deal.

The Afghan Herald reported that a breakthrough has been made regarding issues such as the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, a ceasefire, the agreement that Afghanistan will not be used to attack or harm any other country and prisoner releases. On matters like the ceasefire, negotiations must also involve the Government in Kabul. The US negotiators have kept the Afghan government completely up to date and Kabul has not shown any objections to the peace negotiations and, especially in an election year, it is highly unlikely they would resist efforts to finally bring peace to a long-suffering Afghanistan.

Rahimullah Yusufzai, an expert on the Taliban, said the continuation of the talks represented “unprecedented” progress.

“I have never seen anything like this before, he said. “This is the first serious effort. And it has continued since July… they have agreed to disagree and continued to meet. That’s why it’s unprecedented.”

At the end of the day Thursday the US and the Taliban are expected to finalize an agreement and issue a joint statement.

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