Istanbul conference to end decades of conflict in Afghanistan

 Flag of Afghanistan  Flag of Afghanistan Photo by Belyay on iStock

13 April 2021

Starting on 24 April, Turkey will host a conference with representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan Government to accelerate the peace negotiations

The United Nations (UN), together with Turkey and Qatar, has announced the convening in Istanbul, from 24 April until 4 May 2021, of a high-level conference with the representatives of the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan, with the objective of accelerating the intra-Afghan negotiations and ending the 18-year-long conflict.

The negotiating efforts to find an intra-Afghan peace have begun following the agreement signed in Doha in February 2020 between the Taliban and the United States (US), which entails the US troops withdrawal from the country, in exchange for the Taliban’s acceptance to engage in talks with the Afghan Government and a commitment to counter the activities of any extremist groups in the territory under their control. Following the agreement, former President Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops to be completed within May 2021, a deadline which incumbent President Joe Biden extended to 11 September 2021. Currently, the US has withdrawn 3,500 troops from Afghanistan, while around 7,000 forces of the allied coalition supporting the Afghan Government, majority of which are NATO Alliance troops, continue to operate in the country.

Meanwhile, violence continues in Afghanistan, described by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, as one of the “deadliest places in the world to be a civilian”, underlining the high number of human rights defenders, journalists, and media workers which have been killed since the beginning of the Doha talks in September 2020. The Istanbul Conference will focus on helping the negotiating parties agree on a peaceful future for the country, including a roadmap to a political settlement which would ensure peace, stability, and prosperity.


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Author: Carla Leonetti; Editor: Francesca Mencuccini

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