Afghanistan Will Lead Peace Talks With US, Taliban
Taking full control of their own national security from the US, Afghanistan will lead a new round of peace talks between themselves, the US, and the Taliban. Taliban representatives will meet first with US officials, and soon after with the Afghan High Peace Council.
Initial talks will be held at the Taliban's newly opened office in Doha, Qatar, which they call "the political office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan." Later rounds in the process will be held in Afghanistan.
For the time being, however, the Taliban will continue strikes against US targets on Afghan soil in continued protest of foreign occupation. "There is no ceasefire," Taliban spokesman Muhammad Sohail Shaheen told Al Jazeera. "They are attacking us and we are attacking them. The attacking will continue in parallel with the peaceful talks..."
The peace process has been stalled for roughly 18 months, since Taliban members walked out of secret meetings with the US, the New York Times reported.
From Afghanistan, Al Jazeera's Jane Ferguson reported that "the people here in Kabul are extremely concerned about the developments in Doha today," explaining that President Hamid Karzai's and President Barack Obama's willingness to engage the Taliban in the political process may mean that the Taliban is regaining some of its lost power.
Read more about the peace process at BBC.
Read more Neon Tommy coverage of Afghanistan here.