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Afghan peace deal will sideline Kabul's interests

Monday, August 12, 2019

Significance

Several rounds of US-Taliban talks have acquired a dynamism of their own and appear to be close to a deal. Because one element of such an agreement -- a US troop withdrawal -- chimes with White House objectives, US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad seems ready to leave a negotiated political settlement involving the Kabul government for a later date.

Impacts

  • The contents of a written peace agreement will be of limited significance if not all Taliban forces comply.
  • A deal without Kabul on board will undercut US claims of concern for the future of Afghanistan, its people and their rights.
  • Washington's leverage over Kabul will decline as its troops pull out.
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