US envoy reports ‘excellent progress’ in Taliban peace talks

One of President Donald Trump’s campaign promises was a vow to not only avoid getting America engaged in another prolonged military conflict, but also to end the current long-running wars in which the U.S. has been involved, such as the 18-year-long conflict in Afghanistan.

To that point, Trump appointed a special envoy to engage in negotiations with the Taliban to peacefully end the protracted hostilities that have raged since 2001, and that envoy recently revealed that “excellent progress” has been made in that regard.

Peace talks progressing

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that negotiators for both the U.S. and Taliban had resolved unspecified differences that had stalled talks and delayed a prospective deal that would likely see most, if not all, U.S. troops withdrawn from Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban would agree that the war-torn nation would never again serve as a safe haven for Islamist terror organizations such as al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group.

American envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, appointed by Trump in 2018 to lead the negotiations, declined to offer any specifics to reporters following several days of meetings with Taliban officials in Doha, Qatar, though he did post a tweet that said “excellent progress” had been made toward the final goal of peace.

The top priority for Khalilzad is to achieve a permanent cease-fire to end the ongoing fighting as well as an agreement for the Taliban and the Afghan government to meet and hold peace talks among themselves.

That has proven to be difficult, however, given the fact that the Taliban view the Afghan government as illegitimate puppets of the U.S. lacking any real authority in the country, roughly half of which is currently controlled by the Taliban.

Ongoing conflict

Meanwhile, as the peace talks progress in Doha, fighting still rages across Afghanistan.

The Taliban launch near-daily attacks against Afghan government targets, while U.S. and allied NATO forces provide training for the government forces as well as assistance in airstrikes and special forces raids against the Taliban and other terrorist groups in the region.

One big problem that reportedly has yet to be officially resolved surroundgs the upcoming elections in Afghanistan that are scheduled to take place near the end of September.

The Taliban have called for boycotts of the “sham” elections while the Afghan government has urged the Taliban to prove they are serious about finding a peaceful solution by not attacking or intimidating those who do wish to participate in the democratic elections.

Trump’s objective

President Trump has made it abundantly clear that he would like to end the war in Afghanistan and bring home most, if not all, U.S. troops currently deployed there.

It remains to be seen if that will be yet another campaign promise fulfilled by Trump, but based on the optimism of his chief envoy engaged in peace talks with the Taliban, it is likely closer to becoming a reality than ever before.

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