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The summit is slated to open on April 16, but all sections are still active.
The clock on the US presence in Afghanistan is ticking. The problem, of course, is that it is not clear how much time is left. That lingering uncertainty aside, the next milestone will be set for the coming week, with multiples area store reported that a summit in Istanbul, Turkey – proposed by the United States – is slated to start on April 16.
In Doha, negotiators from various stakeholders – the governments of Afghanistan, the Taliban, the United Nations, the US, Turkey and Qatar – are are reported discussed details of the conference. Sources talk to TOLOnews suggested that the US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad shared with both the Afghan government and the Taliban the details of the upcoming conference. The agenda remains a sticking point, as it did in broader Afghan internal negotiations.
The Biden administration has made no secret of its desire to leave Afghanistan, but the exact date has not been determined. Some reports indicate that the authorities are seeking a six-month extension of the May 1 deadline, allowing “responsible” exit from Afghanistan. The proposed Istanbul summit has been described as a “big gamble to the last second“Which Washington hopes will settle that extension and override the upcoming May 1 deadline outlined in the February 2020 agreement.
At the same time, there are ambitious hopes that the summit could form some sort of consensus along the way, possibly involving a cease-fire and a new government. As VOA outlines Earlier this week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced his own roadmap for peace at Heart of Asia in Tajikistan last week. His plan it began with a negotiated political agreement with the Taliban and a ceasefire, before proceeding to new presidential elections and the creation of a “peace government”.
Ghani’s plan is similar to the US proposal that the Afghan leaders rejected because they were “pressured” before taking it seriously. Where the plans are different is when a government transition can happen, with Plan of America emphasizes a transitional interim government earlier than Ghani’s most recent proposal. Ghani has stated that “The transfer of power through election is an inalienable principle for us” and his plan seems to help transition to Afghanistan’s existing constitutional framework.
Taliban refuse Ghani’s proposal for elections within six months of a peace agreement. The group also did not show interest like the Afghan government and the international community about the Istanbul summit. The Afghan government, in the form of the High Council for National Reconciliation, is discussing who to send; The Taliban have yet to be notified that such discussions will be held.
Meanwhile, the war continued in Afghanistan. A variety of attacks recently and intentional assassinations maintain an atmosphere of uncertainty, violence, and fear.
While all sides seem to agree that a political settlement, rather than a victory on the battlefield, is the only viable path to peace, that’s where the deal ends. For the United States, the proposed Istanbul summit is an opportunity to find a path after May 1 that would allow the country to avoid directly re-signing agreements with the Afghan or Taliban governments. The United States may pressure the fact that the Taliban are not necessarily in compliance with the entire deal, but that doesn’t get Washington any closer to its ultimate goal: leaving Afghanistan. For the Afghan government, the Istanbul summit will be a gathering place for international support and pressure the Taliban to cut off a deal, one that includes a long-sought ceasefire. . It’s another chance to get the conversation going. The wildcard remains for the Taliban and whether the group assesses the ripe timing of the settlement, or determines the current situation and trajectory of the conflict.