US-Taliban talks start in Qatar

Third World WarDoha: Talks have been initiated between the United States and Taliban in Doha, the capital of Qatar. The Taliban delegation includes Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. His inclusion in the delegation is considered significant and the chances of the talk heading towards success are claimed to be high. Earlier, the talks between the Taliban and the United States were to be held in Pakistan. But the Taliban had declared that they would not be able to participate in the talks in Pakistan, ignoring the discontent simmering in Afghanistan against Pakistan.

These talks in Qatar are significant on many counts. The Pakistani control over these talks seems to be entirely over. Till now, Pakistan was dreaming of keeping Afghanistan under its heel, by controlling the Taliban. But the dream seems to be over, as the Taliban has shown Pakistan its place, by refusing to participate in the talks proposed to be held in Pakistan. Taliban clarified its political stance, saying that it will not engage in these talks, going against the public opinion in Afghanistan. Following this, the talks in Qatar appear to have become more authentic.

US, taliban, qatarUS Special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had claimed that the talks held in Qatar, last month, with the Taliban had been successful. Talks have been held between the US leadership and Taliban, even in the past. But Khalilzad said that such successful talks, to end the Afghan conflict, had never been held, anytime in the last 17 years. The US special envoy said he had a lot of expectations from the talks initiated in Qatar, since Monday. Khalilzad informed that the proposal for peace talks in Afghanistan had been prepared.

Meanwhile, it is claimed that the United States and Taliban have agreed on most of the points in the peace talks proposal. But the discussions around the US military withdrawal and some other issues will be held in the upcoming talks in Qatar. The United States has nearly 14,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, and the United States has expressed willingness to withdraw half of these soldiers and Taliban has accepted the US demand that Afghanistan will not be used to carry out terror attacks in any of the neighbouring countries or the United States.

Pakistan had welcomed the decision of the United States to withdraw the military from Afghanistan whereas India had expressed concerns over it. But the United States will not be withdrawing its military completely, and the US bases will remain operational in Afghanistan. The analysts have pointed out that the United States has large deployments of its defence forces, at its bases in the Middle East. Using them, the United States can initiate an action in Afghanistan, within a matter of minutes. The journalists are also pointing out that the Taliban too, is not keen on a conflict with the United States.

A few Pakistani analysts have warned the Pakistani government that it should not be under any illusion, of taking advantage of the said military withdrawal by the United States, from Afghanistan. These analysts have warned that the US military withdrawal could create problems for Pakistan itself.