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Afghan talks are possible despite fierce fighting

Monday, August 13, 2018

Significance

A nascent peace process taking shape since February has so far led to diplomatic contacts and a brief ceasefire. Fighting on the ground is not in itself an indicator of Taliban recalcitrance, but the group is divided on whether and how to proceed towards a negotiated settlement.

Impacts

  • A significant Taliban constituency sees no purpose in pursuing jihad but is uncertain how to formulate demands for a political settlement.
  • Hard-line Taliban deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani is looking isolated.
  • Taliban attacks or restraint during the October parliamentary elections will help identify their intentions.
  • The strained US-Pakistani relationship will complicate efforts to influence Islamabad's Afghan policies.

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