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Are the Taliban winning in Afghanistan?

Two-day formal talks with the Taliban concluded within the United Arab Emirates this week. Billed as essentially the most important talks up to now, they included representatives from america and the three international locations thought of to have affect over the Taliban: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

The Afghan Taliban have come to the negotiating desk earlier than as a part of numerous bids to finish the 17-year-long struggle that’s the longest in American historical past, however this time was completely different. The group has all the time had two main calls for if it was going to comply with any peace settlement, and for the primary time, important steps had been made in direction of assembly them.

Direct negotiations with america

First, the Taliban has all the time demanded that it have the ability to negotiate instantly with america. As a result of the U.S. classed the Taliban as a terrorist group, it would not negotiate with them, insisting that each one dealing be achieved with Afghanistan’s internationally acknowledged authorities. The Taliban considers the Afghan authorities an American puppet, established after it was ousted from energy in Afghanistan by the U.S. in 2001, and refuses to take care of it.

The talks that ended Thursday, subsequently, at which the American diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad was current, had been a significant achievement for the Taliban, who had, once more, reportedly refused to fulfill with the Afghan authorities delegation that had been despatched to the UAE.

American withdrawal

The second main Taliban demand has been included in each assertion launched by the group for years. The group persistently calls on america to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and finish its “occupation” of the nation.

With the introduced drawdown of American troops by the Trump administration, the Taliban have partly achieved this.

Mr. Trump’s earlier technique, which was laid out almost two years in the past, had been welcomed by the Afghan authorities and army analysts. It concerned not declaring an exit date for American troops from Afghanistan, and, in so doing, it prevented repeating what occurred after the Obama administration’s scheduled troop drawdown, earlier than which the Taliban retreated and ready. Their assaults elevated after American troops left the nation.

In addition to encouraging financial exercise, Mr. Trump’s earlier no-exit date technique had additionally boosted the morale of Afghan troopers, which was low, and the choice to withdraw half of them has been stunning to Afghan troopers and civilians alike.

It’s anticipated {that a} discount in American troops on the bottom in Afghanistan would result in a rise within the variety of airstrikes which might be carried out concentrating on the Taliban and the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS). Extra airstrikes imply extra civilian casualties. The United Nations Help Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 649 casualties within the first 9 months of 2018 that had been the results of airstrikes carried out by both worldwide or authorities forces.

In response to the information, the chief adviser to Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, Fazel Fazly, tweeted, “If the few thousand international troops that advise, prepare, & help, go away it won’t have an effect on our safety.”

As for the Taliban’s response, they’ve up to now remained tight-lipped.

“We are going to react when the announcement (of troops withdrawal) is made formal,” a spokesman for the group, Zabihullah Mujahid, instructed CBS Information.

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