Shared Afghanistan interests create opening for US-Iran back channel

“The talks have not failed,” Suhail Shaheen the Afghan Taliban’s chief spokesperson told Dawn by phone from Doha. — AP  File

And getting Afghans to agree on a compromise political system and division of power may be a far tougher ordeal than the U.S. -Taliban negotiations, whose first stage could be coming to a close after roughly a year. Last year, the U.S. withdrew military funding to Pakistan and applied damaging sanctions against Pakistani companies over concerns about the development of tactical nuclear weapons and the country's alleged support for Islamists in Afghanistan. However, the Taliban have been mounting many attacks and now control a considerable amount of the country and contest much more. He emphasized that the main goal of these negotiations was a peace agreement, not the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Several back-channel efforts, the sources said, are driven by a hope that cooperation on Afghanistan could lead to negotiations to lower the tensions ignited when Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 worldwide agreement created to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief.

Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States has raised the possibility that Islamabad might redeploy troops from the Afghanistan border to the Kashmir frontier, a shift that could complicate American peace talks with the Taliban, according to the New York Times. "The Afghan government is one side of the negotiations in other topics", Mr.

On August 7, the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in which an explosive-laden vehicle targeted Afghan security forces in Kabul, killing 14 people and wounding 145, mostly women, children and civilians.

The Taliban do not recognize the Afghan government, which has not been involved in the talks the United States has been holding with the Taliban in Qatar.

Mohammad Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (born 19 May 1949) is an Afghan politician and current president of Afghanistan, elected on 21 September 2014.

No date was announced for a new round; however, a senior Taliban negotiator Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa said in recent reported remarks that details of the two issues were yet to be finalised and talks would be held after Eid.

"If any issue remains unresolved then we will meet after Eid", the Taliban leader said. The group has told Afghan citizens to avoid campaign events and has warned them not to vote. After almost 18 years of war, the Taliban insurgency is by some measures more powerful than at any time since the USA invasion. He has been involved with USA policymakers in the State Department and the Pentagon since the mid-1980s, and he was the highest-ranking Muslim in the George W. Bush administration.

While Iran is open to talks, it wants at the very least a suspension of USA sanctions created to slash its oil exports to zero, Tehran's main source of income, according to two sources familiar with the US and Iranian positions.

Afghanistan security forces are in their worst state in years - nearly completely on the defensive in much of the country, according to local military commanders and civilian officials, the New York Times reported, based on its investigation. The Muslim holiday began over the weekend.

Most offensive operations have been left to small numbers of the highly-praised - but over-used - Afghan Special Operations soldiers, backed by USA special operations units and both countries' air forces, Pentagon officials said.

The conflict in Afghanistan has become America's longest-ever war and has ground into a stalemate, with neither side able to defeat the other and casualties rising among civilians as well as combatants.

Afghan security forces arrive after a powerful explosion outside the provincial police headquarters in Kandahar Province last month.



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