US Resumes Talks With Taliban In Doha; Focus On Reducing Violence

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The US has purportedly resumed talks with the Taliban in Qatar, three months after the US President Donald Trump abruptly halted the talks calling it "dead"

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Updated On:
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The US has purportedly resumed talks with the Taliban in Qatar on Saturday, three months after the US President Donald Trump abruptly halted  the diplomatic efforts and called it "dead." As per the news agency PTI, the talks in Doha will focus on the reduction of violence through a ceasefire and intra-Afghan negotiations. The US President Donald Trump had confirmed the resumption of talks, however, had refused to give a timeline for the drawdown of US troops.  "Yes," Trump told a small group of reporters at the Bagram Air Field on November 29. 

The Taliban had called the decision to abolish the talks as 'unbelievable' and further went on to say that Donald Trump's 'disappointing' tweets 'damaged his credibility.' The decision to call off the peace negotiation with the Taliban came after Donald Trump called off the meeting with the Taliban after being on the 'threshold' of the agreement.  "They (talks with the Taliban) are dead. As far as I'm concerned, they're dead," Trump told reporters at the White House in September. 

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"They (the Taliban) thought that (they) had to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position... You can't do that with me," Trump said while responding to a question about his decision to cancel the talks. "So, they dead as far as I'm concerned. We have hit the Taliban harder in the last four days than they have been hit in over 10 years. So that's the way it is." Trump added. 

The US and the Taliban had appeared on the verge of signing a deal that would have seen Washington begin withdrawing thousands of troops in return for security guarantees. It was also expected to pave the way towards direct talks between the Taliban and the government in Kabul and, ultimately, a possible peace agreement after more than 18 years of war. During a surprise visit to a US military base in Afghanistan last week, Trump said the Taliban "wants to make a deal." 

However, Trump left the world astounded after the US President made a Twitter announcement of the cancellation of a "secret meeting" with the Taliban and Afghanistan counterpart Ashraf Ghani at Camp David near Washington, just a few days prior to the 9/11 anniversary.   The US President was called a "traitor" over the revelation of a probable "secret meeting" with the Taliban just days ahead of the 18th anniversary of September 11. More than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to go after the Taliban. The Taliban was also harboring Al-Qaida leaders responsible for 9/11.

READ| Pakistan backs Taliban; counters India's support for democratic Afghan

Pakistan's role in peace talks

Pakistan on Thursday welcomed the announcement of the resumption of the stalled talks between the US and the Taliban, in response to the US State Department's announcement to resume talks on Wednesday. Pakistan has been playing an active and negative role in Afghanistan, a US report asserted, stating that Islamabad is attempting to weaken the government in Kabul.  As per a report, Pakistan has played an active, and by many accounts, a negative role in Afghan affairs for decades. "Pakistan's security services maintain ties to Afghan insurgent groups, most notably the Haqqani Network, a US-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) that has become an official, a semiautonomous component of the Taliban," CRS, which periodically prepares reports on issues of importance for Congressmen for them to make informed decisions, said. 

Islamabad's Afghan policy has been motivated to counter New Delhi's influence in Afghanistan, considering India's backing for the government of the country, which has brought some democratic normalcy in the war-torn country. Islamabad, by backing the armed group has contradicted New Delhi in Afghanistan, who has significantly contributed economically, culturally to the neighbour, and been the largest regional contributor to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

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