The historic peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban insurgent group have begun. The talks aim to end the prolonged warring conflicts between the two factions and have gone through arduous processes and setbacks.
Beginning of peace talks
Representatives for both the Afghan government and Taliban group met face to face on Saturday in the capital of Qatar. The parties are set to discuss their hopes for future generations and debate on a potential framework for long-lasting peace.
According to NPR, Trump's administration was responsible for paving the way for negotiations when it successfully formed a peace agreement with the Taliban in February. The talks mark the first time in history the two sides will meet directly.
The discussions in Doha come after 19 years from the time that al-Qaida killed almost 3,000 people in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The assault was recorded as one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in the history of the United States.
The incident also sparked war within Afghanistan when the US military, supported by its allies, ended the Taliban regime's reign for harboring terrorists. Many years since, Taliban militants have regained control of the majority of the country.
The path to reaching the historic peace talks was the result of several concessions. The US government and its allies promised to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban renouncing al-Qaida and preventing any future terrorist attacks.
The US military had about 12,000 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan when the peace agreement was signed in February. Officials stated that the American military is set to withdraw its troops down to 4,500 by the end of November.
On the other hand, the Afghan government has promised to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners it has in its custody if the insurgent group agrees to set 1,000 of its imprisoned Afghan security forces free.
Until now, the Taliban group had denied requests to met with the Afghan government, arguing they were powerless and mere puppets. Both parties desire to conduct political reconciliation and to put an end to the decades-long conflict, as reported by BBC.
All those involved with the peace talks reiterated that the discussions would be challenging. History has seen vast disparities between the two factions, while conflicts continue to rage within Afghanistan.
The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke during the opening of the historical talks and acknowledged that they would undoubtedly face many hurdles along the way. However, he stressed that the success of the discussions would benefit future generations to come.
The head of Afghanistan's delegation, Abdullah Abdullah, said there was no need for both sides to agree on every detail of the talks. However, he expressed his hopes that a humanitarian ceasefire would result from the discussions and that a time of peace that all Afghan citizens recognize and accept may be implemented.
During the conference, Taliban leader Mullah Baradar Akhund said he was calling for Afghanistan to have an all-encompassing Islamic system that would accept all tribes and ethnicities.