The United States and the Taliban announced on Tuesday that formal talks will begin on coming to an agreement to rule Afghanistan. Tuesday also marked the formal transition to Afghan leadership in terms of military force from the NATO coalition. The Taliban has opened a political office in Doha, Qatar, which should provide them a home base from which to conduct negotiations. Obama celebrated the opening of the office.
Taliban Spokesman Mohammad Naim has announced that the Taliban will not accept the use of Afghan soil as a base for military operations, and supports negotiations. The Obama administration stated that US representatives will start bilateral negotiations with the Taliban.
Current Afghan leader Hamid Karzai will also be sending representatives to Qatar. “We are hopeful that after starting negotiations in Qatar, immediately the negotiations and all the peace process should move into Afghanistan,” Karzai said. “Afghanistan shouldn’t be center of the discussions outside of the country.” Karzai also stated that the talks would commence without “any immediate precondtions.”
Marine General Joseph Dunford, the top US commander in Afghanistan, also celebrated the beginning of talks: “My perspective has always been that this war is going to have to end with political reconciliation and so I frankly would be supportive of any positive movement in terms of reconciliation particularly an Afghan led and an Afghan owned process that would bring reconciliation between the afghan people and the Taliban in the context of the Afghan constitution.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).