Historic talks will begin between the Taliban and the Afghan government

The Afghan government and the Taliban will meet in Doha on Saturday for peace talks to end nearly two decades of war, although immediate progress is unlikely.

Historic talks will begin between the Taliban and the Afghan government

The US-backed talks came to an end six months later due to bitter differences over the controversial prisoner exchange in February.

Talks will begin a day after the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which forced the United States to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban government that sheltered al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

US Secretary of State Mike said it was important for both sides to understand "how to move our country forward to reduce and deliver on the violence that the Afghan people are demanding - reconciling Afghanistan with a government that reflects a country that is not at war, "Mike said. Pompeo, who will attend the opening of the talks.

President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election in November, has vowed to end America's longest-running war and wants all foreign troops to leave Afghanistan by next year.

A comprehensive peace agreement can take years, and will depend on the willingness of both sides to develop their own competitive landscape for the country.

The Taliban, which has refused to recognize President Ashraf Ghani's government, will press for Afghanistan to be transformed’ into an Islamic "emirate."

Ghani's administration will seek to maintain a Western-backed constitutional republic that has embraced many rights, including greater freedoms for women.

- End of war -

"When the war started, my beard was black, now the snow is white and we are still at war," said Obaidullah, 50.

The retired civil servant added, "I am not sure that the war will end soon. I am skeptical about the negotiations because both sides want their whole agenda and want to implement their system."

Many Afghans fear that any return to power - partially or completely - could lead to the return of Islamic Sharia law.

The rebels claimed victory after signing a Qatari mediation agreement with Washington in February, which set a deadline for talks.

Qatar has quietly led mediation efforts complicated by the violence in Afghanistan and the Corona virus crisis, Doha's chief negotiator, Mutlaq al-Qahtani, called for "the power of diplomacy" on Thursday.

Doha invited the Taliban to open a political office in 2013 and helped sign a troop withdrawal agreement between Washington and the Taliban in February.

The arrangement has led to tense moments when the Taliban raised their flags in the office and held sway in Kabul.

On Friday, two Afghan flags were unfurled at a luxury hotel in Doha to host the talks as turbaned Taliban lined up with the media and caterers to test the corona virus before assembling.


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