US and Taliban Attempt to Negotiate in Qatar

Donald Trump and Ashraf Ghani at a meeting in Kabul this past November Donald Trump and Ashraf Ghani at a meeting in Kabul this past November Erin Schaff/The New York Times

30 January 2020

Thousands of Afghan civilians are dying as military powers dispute grounds for ceasefire.

For weeks, representatives from the United States and the Taliban have been meeting in Qatar to negotiate a deal to end the conflict in Afghanistan. The conflict, whose key players are the Taliban, an insurgent group, the Afghan government, and the United States government, has lasted 18 years and claimed a host of civilian lives in its wake. In the past ten years alone, nearly 34,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or injured. Most victims are children, and, internationally, the Afghan war is the deadliest conflict for children. 

The meetings in Qatar are seemingly stagnant as all involved actors refuse to meet the demands of the other parties. The United States wants a “significant and lasting” reduction in violence from the Taliban before signing a deal. The Taliban, however, has offered only a temporary ceasefire for up to ten days to sign a deal with the United States, holding off on any promises of an extensive ceasefire until negotiations with the Afghan government are underway. The president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, turned down the Taliban’s offer of a temporary cease-fire and has refused to participate in intra-Afghan negotiations until a comprehensive insurgent ceasefire is reached. 

Groups such as the United Nations and Amnesty International continue to advocate for peace in Afghanistan and specifically highlight the impact the conflict has had on civilians. Omar Waraich, the South Asia director at Amnesty International, has been quoted on the issue saying, “Claims of peace cannot be taken seriously as long as fighters continue to target civilians. They must commit to protecting civilians, and all attacks on civilians must be investigated and prosecuted. Peace talks must not, under any circumstances, become a licence for impunity.”


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Author: Noelle Musolino; Editor: Vito Quaglia

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